Weill Cornell to Open 200K-SF Medical Center at Former Sotheby’s HQ

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Weill Cornell Medicine has inked a deal to expand its Upper East Side campus to 1334 York Avenue, taking over half of the 10-story world headquarters of Sotheby’s auction house. 

The medical school will lease 200,000 square feet on the fifth through ninth floors from Sotheby’s once the auction house departs for its new home in the landmarked Breuer Building at 945 Madison Avenue, Weill Cornell announced Tuesday.

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The deal marks the largest expansion of Weill Cornell’s campus since the 480,000-square-foot Belfer Research Building opened around the corner at 413 East 69th Street in 2014. The college also expanded its nearby Plaza District campus at 575 Lexington Avenue to 300,000 square feet in October.

In a statement, Weill Cornell Dean Dr. Robert Harrington emphasized the convenience of the location, noting it is “only steps from where our doctors see patients.”

“By continuing to invest in science, we can change medicine, moving pioneering research more rapidly from lab concept to patient therapies,” Harrington said.

The medical college will build dedicated research space in the building, including dry and wet labs, offices and conference rooms to accommodate 700 faculty and staff, including new hires and current employees who will relocate from across campus, according to the announcement. 

The Englander Institute for Precision Medicine and the Meyer Cancer Center are among the programs Weill Cornell plans to house in the York Avenue property, which is expected to open in 2026. Weill Cornell is currently in the midst of a $1.5 billion fundraising campaign to expand its research mission. 

Spokespeople for Weill Cornell and Sotheby’s declined to share specific details on the deal. Mary Ann TigheLauren Crowley Corrinet and Elliot Bok of CBRE brokered the deal for Sotheby's while John Cefaly of Cushman & Wakefield handled it for Weill Cornell.

A spokesperson for Sotheby’s wrote in an email that the auction house will continue to host exhibitions and auctions at 1334 York Avenue until 2025. 

“At that time, we will move our galleries to the Breuer Building and begin a new chapter as we deepen our connection to the Upper East Side, Sotheby’s home since 1980,” the email continued. 

The auction house has been lining up to purchase the brutalist Breuer Building from the Whitney Museum for $100 million, Commercial Observer reported in June. It also acquired 25-11 49th Avenue, a nine-story building known as Gantry Point, in Long Island City, Queens, for $82 million in 2022.

The Sotheby’s spokesperson declined to comment on the plans for the remaining five floors of the 500,000-square-foot 1334 York Avenue, but said Tuesday’s announcement “is a continuation of the strategic transformation of our operational process and client experience in New York.”

Abigail Nehring can be reached at anehring@commercialobserver.com.