The famous "Flat Iron Building" in New York has been sold at auction for 190 million dollars (about 175 million euros). After about an hour of bidding on the steps in front of a Manhattan courthouse, the auctioneer's gavel fell on Wednesday for the sum of $190 million. The starting bid was $40 million. The winner posed as Jacob Garlick, a mutual fund employee.
After the gavel fell, Garlick got on his knees and cried. Clapping and cheers could be heard in the audience. Shortly before that, fellow bidder Nathan Silverstein, who last owned 25 percent of the building, had initially asked for a short break and then given up. A total of eleven bidders had actively registered for the auction, but by far the most bids came from Garlick and Silverstein.
"We are honored to be the stewards of this historic building and preserving its integrity will be our lifetime mission," Garlick said. Silverstein expressed disappointment to family members and colleagues.
The triangular Flatiron Building is one of New York's most popular attractions. The approximately 90 meter high building, which can also be seen in numerous films and television series, was opened in 1902 - at the intersection of Broadway, 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue in the middle of Manhattan. Up until a few years ago, Macmillan Publishers rented all 21 floors of the building, and it has been empty since they moved out.
The auction was ordered by a judge after a dispute broke out between the five previous owners about the future of the building. The real estate companies GFP Real Estate, Newmark, ABS Real Estate Partners and Sorgente Group together owned 75 percent of the building, with real estate developer Nathan Silverstein owning the remaining 25.
The auction made a lot of headlines. "If you've ever wanted to own a piece of New York history," CNBC said, "now is your chance."