Flatiron Building owners pursue sale, citing discord over renovation

The landmarked office building, mostly vacant since 2019, is co-owned by five LLC’s

New York /
Jul.July 06, 2021 03:57 PM
Clockwise from bottom left: GFP Real Estate co-CEOs Eric Gural and Brian Steinwurtzel, Sorgente Group president Veronica Mainetti and ABS President Gregg Schenker with the Flatiron Building (GFP, Sorgente, ABS, iStock)

Clockwise from bottom left: GFP Real Estate co-CEOs Eric Gural and Brian Steinwurtzel, Sorgente Group president Veronica Mainetti and ABS President Gregg Schenker with the Flatiron Building (GFP, Sorgente, ABS, iStock)

Four owners are trying to 23 skidoo from their stakes in the Flatiron Building, apparently catching the fifth owner by surprise.

GFP Real Estate, the Sorgente Group and ABS Partners, which collectively own a 75 percent stake in the landmarked building through four different entities, are seeking to offload their share of the property through a partition sale.

On Friday, the companies filed a complaint against an LLC tied to the fifth owner, Nathan Royce Silverstein, calling on a state Supreme Court judge to allow a judicial sale of the property to move forward.

“Certain disagreements have arisen between Plaintiffs and Defendant with respect to the rehabilitation, development and future uses of the Property,” the complaint states. “As a result of those disagreements, Plaintiffs no longer wish to own the Property in common with Defendant.”

The nature of the dispute between the owners was not immediately clear. When reached Friday after the complaint was filed, Silverstein indicated that he wasn’t aware of the complaint or the other owners’ desire to sell. He declined to comment further on Tuesday. Representatives for the other owners also declined to discuss the issue.

According to the complaint, Silverstein’s LLC, NRS Flatiron, acquired its 25 percent interest in the building in 1999, but based on property records, he and his family have held stakes in the tower for much longer than that. The other owners acquired their interests in the property in 1997, 2004 and 2006.

The owners are in the process of an $80 million renovation of the 120-year-old property, which includes façade restoration, new elevators and an updated lobby. The upgrade began after the building’s longtime anchor tenant, Macmillan Publishers, moved out two years ago. The book publisher had occupied all 21 floors of the building, but moved to another city landmark, the Equitable Building, in 2019.

The Flatiron Building is one of the city’s most iconic towers, the first skyscraper in Manhattan built north of 14th Street. Leasing activity in the building has likely been hampered by the pandemic. At the end of June, Manhattan’s office availability rate was 17.1 percent.

In a press release issued on Friday, the owners looking to sell their stakes in the building indicated that they remain committed to completing the renovation work.

“Tenant response has been all we hoped; everyone loves the Flatiron,” CBRE’s Mary Ann Tighe, who is marketing the property, said in a statement. “We will continue our leasing efforts at full speed, in tandem with the restoration and modernization work.”





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