Watch: The curious case of the Flatiron Building
If you wanted a soap opera on the NYC skyline, you’ve got one
It’s been a while since we had a classic New York City soap opera: a dramatic cast of characters, a mysterious stranger, a shocking event and then a cliffhanger. But now, we have the saga of the Flatiron Building.
In this special episode of “Paydirt” in light of all the drama surrounding the Flatiron Building’s botched auction, The Real Deal’s Hiten Samtani broke down the colorful history of one of the world’s most recognizable buildings. He dove into its early days as the headquarters for skyscraper pioneer George Fuller and its sale to a syndicate that may have included some colorful associates.
“There’s been some speculation that one of the partners in the syndicate was Salvatore Maranzano, who would later go on to head the Bonanno crime family,” Samtani said. “That amazing nugget comes from Lucky Luciano’s autobiography. But of course, there’s no paper trail of that particular connection.”
The story moves on to the Harry Helmsley era and then to its recent history under the ownership of an investor group led by Jeffrey Gural. This period is colorful too, involving characters such as Italy’s Sorgente Group and Amol Sarva, founder of the now-defunct coworking company Knotel.
Then came the shocking auction, won by a complete outsider.
“This was a big deal, a nationally televised event — it’s a slice of New York history, after all. Gural went in confident he’d be able to scoop up the building for $80 million or so, given his inside track,” Samtani said of the auction. “But, mann tracht, un Gott lacht (man plays and God laughs.)”
Watch the video above to get up to speed on the building, and follow The Real Deal for ongoing coverage of this slice of New York history.