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Morning Spew

Some Guy Bought the Flatiron Building and Didn’t Pay for It

Why did he do that?

9:16 AM EDT on March 29, 2023

The Flatiron Building in Manhattan.

The Flatiron Building in Manhattan. (Aaron Birch / Unsplash)

Who among us hasn't gotten caught up in the moment and bought something expensive we didn't actually want or need? The last time I did that, I went home with a Lucite coffee table that does not match anything else in my apartment. The last time that venture fund managing partner Jacob Garlick did it, he placed a $190 million bid on the historic Flatiron Building—and now, he has reportedly failed to make the $19 million down payment for it.

"It's been a lifelong dream of mine since I'm 14 years old," Garlick told NY1 immediately after he won the auction to buy the Flatiron last week. "I've worked every day of my life to be in this position. We're honored to be a steward of this historic building, and it will be our life's mission to preserve its integrity forever." 

Apparently, forever is exactly one week long. 

According to the Real Deal, Garlick is an unknown entity in the NYC real estate scene with a confusing past in business and a current gig at a Northern Virginia-based VC company called Abraham Trust that "raises an annual vintage to invest in a truly diversified private equities portfolio," with "areas of interest" that include technology, consumer goods, business services, real estate, food and beverage, sports and entertainment, home and commercial services, and media—so, like, everything. 

And yet, per the Real Deal report: "Venture-capital tracker Crunchbase lists just one investment made by the firm: It participated in a $2.5 million funding round raised last June by a startup called FitFighter, which sells an oddly shaped free weight that was once featured on ABC's 'Shark Tank.'" As such, it's tough to say what Garlick and his firm actually wanted to do with the Flatiron Building. A warehouse for the free weights, maybe? 

Garlick fell to his knees upon winning the auction and appeared to cry, but why was he crying? Because of the rush of adrenaline that can only come from doing something a 14-year-old version of you would find really cool? Because he fucked up and bid his way into a Coen brothers-esque scenario? (Per our own Adlan Jackson: It's fine to cry at work, just don't pretend it's about the building.) Garlick's LinkedIn profile says he is "passionate about building deep relationships," but maybe a little less passionate about actually coughing up the money for the Flatiron building—which he notably did not post about buying even though he's pretty active on the platform. 

We reached out to Garlick for comment, and until we hear from the man himself, I guess we'll never know his true motives—or the true source of his apparent buyer's remorse. 

Since Garlick's down payment on the Flatiron has yet to materialize, you'd think the building would go to the second-highest bidder—but, dear reader, think again, because that guy doesn't even want the building. "I was kind of shocked, to tell you the truth," that bidder, former Flatiron co-owner Jeff Gural, told NY1 after Garlick outbid him. "I never thought someone would bid so much for the building. It's a beautiful building, but it needs $100 million of upgrades, it's basically empty." As the Real Deal noted, that might mean the building may go back up for another public auction like the one Garlick swooped into, which means anything can happen! We might show up and bid on it! Who the fuck knows! 

But one thing is for sure: The idea of the Flatiron building being back up for grabs like an Ikea shelf on Facebook Marketplace is deeply funny. The future could hold any number of things for the landmark. It'll probably be a weed bodega by April.

And now, some links for your Wednesday morning:

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