A low-key outsider shocked the real estate world by making an astonishing $190 million bid to scoop up a global icon — the Flatiron Building.

Jacob Garlick is a managing partner at a Virginia firm called Abraham Trust.

But he is a mystery even to a veteran of New York City real estate, with nearly four decades in the industry, Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel.

“I never heard of him. I don’t know him,” Miller said.

What You Need To Know

  • The Flatiron Building sold at auction Wednesday for $190 million

  • The new owner, Jacob Garlick, managing partner of a Virginia firm called Abraham Trust, is relatively unknown in the New York real estate industry

  • The options for the Flatiron Building could include commercial and residential uses

At the auction, one person rooting for Garlick to win — former Giants wide receiver, Bennie Fowler.

“In the weeks leading up to it, he said this was gonna happen, and that he was gonna win,” Fowler said.

Real estate observers at the auction and experts — including the losing bidder who had been part owner of the Flatiron building — say Garlick overpaid for a landmark, empty since 2019, that still needs extensive renovations.

Before the pandemic, a real estate data firm in a 2013 Wall Street Journal article estimated the building was worth as much as $300 million on the strength of the commercial real estate market at the time.

Now, in the work-from-home era, that’s changed.

“So the question remains, with office values falling, and this certainly seems evidence of it, what is the future use and that’s the question that I’m sure that the buyers have given a lot of thought to, to pay this number in this environment, which is not favorable to office space,” Miller said.

And that could mean making this unique building into homes.

“It would be some sort of luxury development, I would think,” Miller said.

Kathy Wylde, president of the business group, Partnership for New York City, said the Flatiron Building has a great future ahead of it with new investment.

“There are all sorts of plans for reuse in New York, but all of them has a great upside for whoever invests here,” she said.

And with the potential of the Flatiron building to be — once again — the anchor of the neighborhood that bears its name.

For historic buildings that have gotten upgrades and renovations, Wylde said, “we’ve seen that have a dramatic effect on the surrounding neighborhood in terms of creating a place that’s a destination, as well as a residence, as well as a commercial center.”

Garlick will soon get the keys to one of the most famous buildings in the world, as long as he puts down a 10% down payment of $19 million by end of day Friday, and pays the rest of it, once the auction referee delivers the deed.