Sotheby’s auction house buys LIC’s Gantry Point for $82M

Seller Columbia Property Trust converted the office building from a warehouse it acquired for $39M in 2018

(Google Maps, iStock, Gantry Point)
(Google Maps, iStock, Gantry Point)

Sotheby’s facilitated the sales of over $7 billion worth of fine art, jewelry and other rare collectibles last year, but it’s kicking off 2022 with a purchase of its own.

The luxury auction house is expanding its footprint in New York, acquiring a recently converted office building in Long Island City for $82 million.

Sotheby’s bought the nine-story building at 25-11 49th Avenue, also known as Gantry Point, from Columbia Property Trust and State Street, records show. The auction house, which was founded in London but is headquartered on the Upper East Side, confirmed the purchase to The Real Deal.

The deal for the property, a former warehouse converted into nearly 240,000 square feet of office space, allows Sotheby’s to “to establish state-of-the-art operations to support our growth ambition,” said Jean-Luc Berrebi, the firm’s chief financial officer, in a statement to TRD, adding that the auction house plans to centralize its processing and warehousing operations at the site.

A Cushman & Wakefield team led by Adam Spies and Josh King brokered the sale.

Sitting adjacent to the Hunter’s Point subway and Long Island Railroad station, the property was acquired by Columbia (then known as Normandy Real Estate Partners) and Jonathan Zamir’s Keystone Equities for $39.1 million in 2018 after the developers secured $81 million in acquisition and construction financing to convert the two-story warehouse into office space.

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Sotheby’s is no stranger to New York City commercial real estate, having owned its longtime headquarters at 1334 York Avenue on the Upper East Side since 2009, when it repurchased the 500,000-square-foot building for $370 million after a sale-leaseback agreement with Aby Rosen’s RFR Holding.

The auction house refinanced the building in 2020 with a $483 million, five-year, floating-rate loan from Barclays.

Sotheby’s and Realogy — the publicly traded holding company that owns and operates Sotheby’s International Realty under a licensing agreement — recently acquired a joint 80 percent ownership in Concierge Auctions, a luxury real estate auction marketplace, for an undisclosed sum.

Columbia, meanwhile, was acquired by the investment management firm PIMCO for $2.2 billion last year. At the time, Columbia’s portfolio consisted of 15 office properties, with four more on the way, as well as another 8 million square feet of office space it managed for private investors and third parties.

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