Architecture : New York’s Flatiron Building is up for auction

Architecture : New York’s Flatiron Building is up for auction

New York’s Flatiron Building is up for auction

The partially scaffolded Flatiron Building in Manhattan's eponymous Flatiron District.  Photo: Christina Horsten/

The partially scaffolded Flatiron Building in Manhattan’s eponymous Flatiron District. photo

© Christina Horsten/dpa

A triangular building, affectionately known as the Flatiron Building, has stood in the middle of Manhattan for around 120 years. Now the “Iron Building”, which is at the top of the list for many visitors, is to be auctioned off.

The triangular Flatiron Building is one of the most popular attractions of new York – at the moment, however, the famous “iron building” is partly hidden behind scaffolding and completely empty inside.

Up until a few years ago, Macmillan Publishers rented all 21 floors of the building, but after it moved out, a dispute erupted between the owners over the future of the building. A judge finally ruled that auction and so now on March 22nd a piece of New York is to be publicly auctioned off.

The listed Flatiron Building currently has five owners: the real estate companies GFP Real Estate, Newmark, ABS Real Estate Partners andprovente Group together own 75 percent, the real estate developer Nathan Silverstein the remaining 25.

According to the real estate company, Silverstein had “absurd” ideas about the future of the building and, for example, did not want to carry out any renovations at all. Silverstein, in turn, accuses the co-owners of not advertising the building sufficiently and of having offered it for a price per square meter that is far too low. The dispute escalated, leading to years of rent loss – and now to the forced auction.

Across the street is Madison Square Park

The approximately 90 meter high Flatiron Building, which can also be seen in numerous films and television series, was opened in 1902 – at the intersection of Broadway, 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue, in the middle of Manhattan. Today Madison Square Park is across the street. Architect Daniel Hudson Burnham actually called the building the “Fuller Building” because it was built and initially used as the headquarters of the Fuller construction company. But the nickname Flatiron soon caught on and is now also used for the entire area around it.

After Fuller gave up the building, insurance companies and small businesses, among others, moved in temporarily. There were always restaurants or retail outlets on the ground floor. However, the rounded triangular shape of the house – only two meters wide at the top – repeatedly presented challenges for the tenants.

A piece of New York history

It is considered likely that the “iron building” will achieve a price in the multi-digit million range at the upcoming auction. A possible minimum bid was not initially communicated. The real estate companies, which currently still jointly own 75 percent of the building, have already indicated that they will probably also bid. In principle, however, anyone who registers as a bidder can bid, said auctioneer Matthew Mannion of the German Press Agency. There is already “huge interest”. “If you’ve ever wanted to own a piece of New York history,” CNBC said, “now is your chance.”


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