New York developer Jeffrey Gural won the right to buy the iconic Manhattan office building months after the original high bidder failed to come up with the deposit for the building.

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The Flatiron Building was auctioned off on Tuesday, marking the potential end to a strange saga in the iconic building’s history.

The new owner is New York real estate investor Jeffrey Gural, whose investment group is already among the majority owners of the building, according to The Real Deal.

Gural paid $161 million to win the right to buy the building at 175 Fifth Ave. in Manhattan. That was actually 15 percent less than he bid a few months ago, when an unknown investor pledged $190 million for the building and then essentially disappeared.

“It’s a big relief, to tell you the truth, because I really wanted to keep the building,” Gural told The Real Deal after the auction. “But on the other hand, I didn’t want to overpay like we did the last time. So this is kind of a good result for us.”

On May 23, Jeff Gural, real estate entrepreneur and part owner of the Flatiron Building, bids on the “Iron Building” at an auction on the steps outside a Manhattan courthouse. | Christina Horsten/Getty Images

The Flatiron Building is eponymous to the Flatiron District in New York City, but it is largely vacant. 

The building first went to a court-appointed auction in March to settle a disagreement between owners. 

That auction was originally won by Jacob Garlick, an unknown investor in New York City circles. After bidding $190 million for the building, Garlick did an interview with a local TV news station and then failed to come up with the 10 percent deposit on the building.

Garlick hasn’t responded to multiple requests for comment.

Gural bid $189.5 million for the building at the time. After Garlick disappeared Gural wasn’t interested in paying that much for the building, keeping the building’s future in doubt before things were settled on Tuesday.

Gural told The Real Deal he still feels like he overpaid for the building and that he and his partners didn’t yet have a plan for renovations or conversions.

Many of New York’s office buildings are sitting completely or partially vacant. Experts say investors will have to demolish or convert the buildings into new uses like housing or their high vacancy rates will weigh on real estate in downtowns across the country.

Gural suggested he was interested in making the building partially or completely residential.

Email Taylor Anderson

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