Sales  ·  Commercial

Flatiron Building Goes For $190M at Auction

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It was the very definition of a bidding war Wednesday on the steps of the courthouse at 60 Centre Street in Manhattan.

As a result, the price at a court-ordered auction for the contested Flatiron Building went well beyond what GFP Real Estate Chairman Jeffrey Gural considered a reasonable price and fell into the hands of Jacob Garlick, managing partner at Abraham Trust, for $190 million.

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Garlick owes 10 percent of the total price by the end of the day Friday, or it will go to the second highest bidder, who can decline. At that point, it would go back up for auction.

Gural and Garlick were the more aggressive bidders for the landmarked building at 175 Fifth Avenue over the course of an auction that lasted about 40 minutes, after which the well-known office landlord admitted that he had a “tough opponent.”

“Truthfully, I thought we were going to pay about $80 million but I guess when you’re in an auction it just takes one other bidder,” Gural told Commercial Observer. “I was totally shocked that somebody would bid so much money for the building. It’s a beautiful building, but not really worth that much.”

Gural has been through years of litigation as part owner in the building alongside Newmark, Sorgente Group and ABS Partners Real Estate against the majority interest holder, Nathan Silverstein, who they have claimed made poor business decisions.

The Flatiron Building currently sits devoid of tenants, and Garlick’s plans remain unclear as he declined to comment following the close of the auction.

“It’s been a nightmare because we had this one partner who wouldn’t let us do anything,” Gural added. “We had to put in two new stairwells, that work is close to done. … We put a lot of work into it, but it would have gone a lot faster if we weren’t hamstrung by Nathan Silverstein.”

Gural attempted to avoid the auction by offering to buy out Silverstein.

“I offered him $25 million, on top of the mortgage, so I offered him the equivalent of $130 million,” Gural said.

Silverstein could not be reached for comment.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.