Sales  ·  Commercial

Flatiron Building Could Be Auctioned Again as Buyer Misses $19M Deposit

Jacob Garlick apparently doesn’t have the bread

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The Flatiron Building’s fate was still up in the air as of Friday night, with mystery bidder Jacob Garlick apparently not delivering on 10 percent of the $190 million owed to secure his winning bid from earlier in the week.

GFP Real Estate Chairman Jeff Gural told Commercial Observer that as of 3 p.m. Friday no payment had been received by any of the parties involved (Gural is a minority owner of the Flatiron, and was the runner-up in a Wednesday auction at the New York State Supreme Court at 60 Centre Street). Garlick is managing partner at Abraham Trust, a firm that’s almost as obscure as the man himself.

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The court-ordered auction mandated that the deposit be made within two days of the auction or that the building would either go to the second-highest bidder — Gural in this case — or return to the auction block.

Gural told CO late Friday afternoon that he would not be exercising his option to buy the building at a lower bid, something he reaffirmed to The Real Deal on Friday evening. Garlick declined to comment to TRD, which reported that a court-appointed referee, Peter Axelrod, could give him more time to come up with the money.

A representative of Garlick did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

By 4 p.m., Matthew Mannion, principal of Mannion Auctions, which conducted the sale,  had said that Axelrod had not reported that $19 million had been submitted.

“I’ve worked every day of my life to be in this position; we’re honored to be the steward of this historic building and it will be my life’s mission to preserve its integrity forever,” Garlick told NY1 shortly after Wednesday victory.

Gural told CO after bidding had closed that he believed the price at auction reached well beyond what the building at 175 Fifth Avenue was worth, not to mention that it needed another $100 million just to bring it into the 21st century.

“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 said on Wednesday

Gural owned a stake in the building alongside Newmark, Sorgente Group, ABS Partners Real Estate and Nathan Silverstein.

Silverstein, owning a majority stake in the Flatiron Building, blocked necessary renovations, according to Gural. Then in 2019 disaster struck when Macmillan Publishing, the sole office tenant, moved its headquarters to 120 Broadway.

Since then, the Flatiron has sat largely empty, and hence the court battles between the partners and Silverstein began in earnest.

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