Sotheby’s may sell its Manhattan headquarters

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Sotheby's York Ave. headquarters in NYC

Sotheby’s York Ave. headquarters in NYC

Sotheby’s has hired two real estate firms to explore the possibility of a sale of their Manhattan headquarters. The first firm, Eastdil Secured, will look for potential buyers. The second firm, Jones Lang LaSalle, will search for a site to relocate.

Sothebys

Selling their Manhattan headquarters will not be new. After first purchasing the building in 1979, they were forced to sell it in 2002, after the collusion debacle with Christie’s. Sotheby’s continued to occupy the York Ave. building by leasing it back from the purchaser, RFR Holding LLC. Then in 2009 they bought the building back from RFR, after a substantial improvement in business. The pressure to sell now may be coming from Marcato Capital Management LLC, Third Point LLC, and Trian Fund Management LP, who collectively purchased 15% of Sotheby’s shares. They expect a sale would allow Sotheby’s to increase dividends and buy back shares.

Chelsea, New York City

Chelsea, New York City

So where would Sotheby’s move? Chelsea is one possibility because of the concentration of art dealers. Personally I’ll be sad wherever they move. York Ave. is far from midtown and very convenient. Christie’s move to Rockefeller Center made every move by car very difficult.

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