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Flatiron Building (CityRealty) Flatiron Building (CityRealty)
Updated 5/31/2023 with details on the second auction and the new buyer’s plans for the Flatiron Building.

In March 2023, the Flatiron Building dominated New York headlines when it sold at auction for $190 million. It was originally sold to Jacob Garlick, a managing partner at Abraham Trust, but the deal fizzled out when he failed to pay a 10% deposit. It returned to auction on May 23, at which time bidders were required to bring a $100,000 certified check to prevent a similar scenario from playing out again. The winner of the second auction was a group led by GFP Real Estate, one of the companies that currently controls the building, which won with a $161 million bid.
Shortly after the auction, GFP Real Estate Chairman Jeff Gural announced that the Flatiron Building’s owners planned to convert the upper floors to residential use while keeping the lower floors for offices. The remarks come at a time when hybrid work environments show no sign of going away and empty office buildings are widely seen as a solution to New York’s housing shortage. The possible conversion also comes on the heels of One Wall Street, the Woolworth Tower Residences, and 108 Leonard, to name but a few successful office-to-condo conversions.
It is important to note that the shapes of the aforementioned office buildings lent themselves more easily to residential than the Flatiron Building, which has a unique shape that will make the creation of well laid out, properly lit and ventilated units a challenge. Moreover, as it is an individual New York City Landmark, the partial conversion cannot take place without the approval of the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

This article examines the history of the Flatiron Building as well as its impact on the surrounding neighborhood. And for those who don’t want to wait for it to be converted to residential, if this indeed comes to pass, we present a selection of apartment listings located less than one mile from the Flatiron Building.


Flatiron Building NYC Construction details (By Credited to the Library of Congress - From The Times online store, located here., Public Domain,
The building at 175 Fifth Avenue dates back to 1902, when it rose on the corner where Broadway and Fifth Avenue intersect at 23rd Street. It was originally christened “the Fuller Building” in honor of its first owner, the construction company that developed it, but its resemblance to a clothing iron inspired a name that stuck better.

As time passed, tenants came to include the Equitable Life Assurance Company, music publishers from Tin Pan Alley, clothing and toy companies, St. Martin’s Press, and, most recently, St. Martin’s parent company Macmillan Publishers. A number of imprints took shape during Macmillan’s time there, and they would occupy the whole building. However, the publisher moved out in 2019.
Before the auction, a consortium of real estate developers (GFP Real Estate, Newmark, Sorgente Group, and ABS Real Estate Partners) owned 75% of the building, and Nathan Silverstein owned the other 25%. While they embarked on a renovation to reduce its carbon footprint, modernize it, and restore its facade, a series of disagreements on everything from construction costs to building use became so bitter that a judge ordered the auction. At the second auction, the group led by GFP Real Estate essentially bought out Mr. Silverstein.


Flatiron Building Architectural details (David Becker on Unsplash)
Architect Daniel H. Burnham is best known for his work in Chicago, but made his mark on New York with the Flatiron Building. The tight triangular site motivated him to get creative with the shape. Some were afraid the building would collapse due to the force of the wind; however, it was one of the first buildings to use a steel frame, which has held fast. It is further distinguished by detailed ornamentation and other Beaux Arts influences.

“Although a utilitarian office building, it has inspired literary outpourings of an almost poetic quality” – Landmarks designation report

When the Flatiron Building was complete, it was the tallest building north of the Financial District and the first skyscraper north of 14th Street. The Chrysler Building and Empire State Buildings would eventually outstrip it in terms of height, but nothing would replace it in terms of its distinctive shape, steel frame, and opulent ornamentation. It was designated a New York City Landmark in 1966, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989.

Present Day

Flatiron District NYC Flatiron District (CityRealty)
Over the years, the profiles of the Flatiron building and the neighborhood it serves as a namesake for have risen. The building has appeared in a number of films, including Spider-Man, The Usual Suspects, and Godzilla, and millions of Instagram posts. The renovation of Madison Square Park, the opening of Eataly, and the rise of NoMad haven’t hurt matters, either.
On the stretch of Broadway in front of the building, the Flatiron Plaza is closed to car traffic and offers tables and chairs, seasonal plantings, food kiosks, and free Wi-Fi. More recently, construction kicked off on a new phase of the “Broadway Vision” plan that will bring two new plazas, a two-way bike lane from West 25th to 32nd Streets, and permanent capital improvements along Broadway from West 21st to West 33rd Streets.

Such features make the Flatiron Building appealing to people all over New York, and indeed the world, and the area has emerged as a residential destination as well. The office buildings were prime candidates for loft residence conversions, and new construction has taken shape.

241 FIFTH, #12C (Corcoran Group)

21 East 22nd Street, #2D (Engel & Volkers New York Real Estate LLC)

The Bullmoose, #5C (Engel & Volkers New York Real Estate LLC)

Madison Green, #29C (Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales LLC)

142 Flatiron, #3 (Compass)

131 Fifth Avenue, #501 (POG Real Estate Inc)

9 West 20th Street, #7 (The Burkhardt Group LLC)

Grand Madison, #PHH (Compass)

10 Madison Square West, #16C (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

141 Fifth Avenue, #4AB (Corcoran Group)

Madison Square Park Tower, #42A (Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales LLC)

50 Madison Avenue, #PH (Compass)

212 Fifth Avenue, #6A (Elegran LLC)

35 East 20th Street, #PH8 (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

Flatiron House, #21A (Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group)

One Madison, #PH (Corcoran Group)
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