Sotheby’s Buys Breuer Building From Whitney Museum for New HQ
The Upper East Side’s landmarked, Brutalist building designed by Marcel Breuer — and former home of the Whitney Museum of American Art — will be sold to Sotheby’s to become the auction house’s new headquarters.
Sotheby’s paid a reported $100 million to the Whitney for the Breuer Building at 945 Madison Avenue with plans to move its headquarters from York Avenue after the property’s current occupant, the Frick Collection, leaves in 2024, The New York Times reported.
A spokesperson for Sotheby’s did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for the Whitney confirmed the sale but did not provide any more details. It was unclear who brokered the deal.
The five-story building at the corner of Madison Avenue and East 75th Street was built in 1966 and designed by Breuer, a famed Hungarian-American architect, to house the Whitney Museum. The museum remained in the building until 2015, when it moved to the Meatpacking District to occupy a new $422 million property at 99 Gansevoort Street.
After the Whitney left, the Metropolitan Museum of Art signed an eight-year lease for the Breuer Building in 2016 — at a reported annual cost of $18 million — but transferred the last three years of the lease to the Frick Collection in 2018 after it faced financial difficulties, the Times reported.
The Frick used the building as a temporary space while its 1 East 70th Street home underwent renovations, later extending its sublease to 2024. Meanwhile, the Whitney began talks with potential buyers to offload the Brutalist structure.
Sotheby’s eventually won and plans to relocate its headquarters from its longtime home at 1334 York Avenue to the Breuer Building in 2025, according to the Times. Aside from the auction saleroom, Sotheby’s will also have gallery and exhibition space inside the building.
And the Breuer Building isn’t the only real estate deal Sotheby’s made in the city recently. Last year, the auction house dropped $82 million on the 240,000-square-foot 25-11 49th Avenue in Long Island City, Queens, to house its processing and warehouse operations, The Real Deal reported.
Nicholas Rizzi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.