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Deals & Dealmakers

Billionaire pays $564M for Sothebyʼs building

1334 York Avenue

By Linda O’Flanagan

The new owner of Sotheby’s has taken ownership of its New York City auction house.

City records show Patrick Drahi’s BidFair USA paid $564 million in transfer tax on 1334 York Avenue, the full-block building between East 71st and 72nd Streets Soetheby’s calls home.

The 10-story, 489,513 s/f property was built in 1925 and originally operated as a cigar factory and later a Kodak facility. Sotheby’s moved in in 1980 and bought the building for $11 million in 2000, according to the New York Times.

The auctioneer sold it to RFR in 2002, but then bought it back for $370 million after recovering from a price-fixing scandal.

Since then, Sotheby’s has moved to sell the building twice and twice backed out. Earlier this year, it tapped OMA to lead a $55 million redesign that would expand exhibition space to 90,000 s/f.

Adam Pincus first reported the RPTT on the building paid by Drahi, a media titan and art collector, who bought Sotheby’s for $3.7 billion in a deal that takes the auction house private after 30 years as a pubic company.

Tad Smith, Sotheby’s CEO, said of the sale, “Patrick Drahi is one of the most well-regarded entrepreneurs in the world. He has a long-term view and shares our brand vision for great client service and employing innovation to enhance the value of the company for clients and employees.”

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