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The fabulous Flatiron

A Big Apple architectural icon is getting a makeover.

Flatiron Building, Famous New York Landmark, to Be Converted to Condos
The triangular 22-story building, which has been vacant since 2019, may be among the highest profile office-to-residential conversions

New York City’s historic Flatiron Building is officially preparing for its new life as a home to condos. 

Following an auction of the property earlier this year, The Brodsky Organization has most recently bought a stake in the landmarked building — which is owned by GFP Real Estate. The investment confirms that the building, which sits at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway, will be converted into condos.

Sources confirmed Brodsky’s stake, as well as the “likely” conversion, to The Messenger. The deal was first reported by The Real Deal.

The triangular 22-story landmark located at 175 Fifth Avenue has a typical floorplan of 10,600 square feet, with a total square footage of 255,000 square feet, according to materials by GFP. At the May auction, GFP Chairman Jeffrey Gural estimated that the building would cost $100 million to renovate, in addition to the $161 million he dropped on the winning bid. 

Sources involved in similar investment sales say that the conversion will be rather pricey. It’s estimated that the developer would have to charge about $1,600 per square foot to break even and closer to $3,000 a square foot to turn a profit. The triangular floor plan may also make for oddly shaped apartments.

After the gorgeous Chrysler building, I have to say the modestly mid-rise skyscraper once derided as Burnham’s Folly stands second on my personal most-beloved list. So much did I dig it, in fact, that on my frequent long afternoon strolls around Lower Manhattan I usually made sure to arrange the route so it would take me by the dear old Flatiron at least once. When I did, I always had to stop for a few minutes and just gaze up at the oddly-shaped old gal from across Fifth Ave, drinking in her unique grace and beauty from the ground floor entrance to the add-on penthouse floor at the tippy-top.

For reasons I don’t pretend to understand, though, I never did go in to check out the interior. Go figger. But just you have yourself a gander at this pic and then tell me she ain’t a bona fide masterpiece of the architect’s art.

Flatiron Building

Funny story about the Flatiron that isn’t all that well-known, related to me years ago by Chris Pfouts, who definitely knew a thing or two about a thing or two concerning the classic structures of two once-great American cities, New Orleans and NYC: it enjoys the singular distinction of being the only skyscraper anywhere that was actually, literally stolen.

See, during the era when the Flatiron was being built, the Mafia had a certain renown for stealing materials, tools, and various fixtures from any construction site their crews were hired to work on (which was all of ‘em) to be resold elsewhere. So brazen and out of control had this New York tradition become that, while the Flatiron site was being prepared, those Cosa Nostra crews started jacking every girder, beam, door, and tiedown bolt they got their hands on, just as soon as the stuff was delivered to the site for later assembly.

Some city official totted up the losses years later and determined that such a ridiculously large quantity of material had disappeared that, in effect, two (2) Flatiron buildings could have been built. Sadly, New York ended up with just the one.

I’m glad she’s coming back, if only as exorbitantly-priced condos. Even after having stood vacant for several years, tearing the Flatiron down to puke up yet another nondescript glass box in her place would be unthinkable. I’m thankful that the new owner has smarts and vision enough to realize that the old girl has life left in her still, and I hope he makes himself a swoon-inducing bundle from the undertaking. New York just wouldn’t be the same without her.

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