December 04, 2020
Exclusive Look Inside: Iconic Flatiron Building Undergoing Massive Transformation
BY MICHAEL HERZENBERG | NEW YORK CITY
PUBLISHED 2:20 PM ET NOV. 30, 2020
The iconic Flatiron building sits empty and it has nothing to do with the pandemic. The last tenant, Macmillan Publishing, which occupied all 22 floors, moved out when its lease expired a year and a half ago.
Now it is undergoing a massive transformation.
“Right now what’s going on with the building, it’s exciting,” said Sunny Atis, the longtime Superintendent of the Flatiron building.
The Flatiron building, named for its distinctive shape, is the first steel skyscraper in the city.
“It was great to be able to unveil this beauty, the original skeleton of the building," Veronica Mainetti told NY1 as she hammered away at sheetrock and plaster covering parts of the original structure. She is President of the Sorgente Group of America, the majority owner of the Flatiron, which is spending more than $50 million to restore the landmark.
That includes repairing and in some cases remolding hundreds of pieces of Terra-cotta adorning the facade and bringing the old building into the modern age.
Workers helped Atis pull out the antiquated radiators and window AC units. A 21st century heating and cooling system will replace it and it will includes solar panels on the roof and rain reclamation tanks.
For Mainetti it’s more than business.
“If we don’t change the way that we are doing things especially with development within construction we’re not going to have an earth to live on," she said. In addition to her professional position leading her company, she's also an artist - activist.
Mainetti climbed the inside and outside of the Flatiron to raise awareness about climate change and sustainability.
Reducing the carbon footprint here will take five months longer than expected. COVID-19 pushed back completion to 2022, 120 years after it first opened.
“We’re going to start showing soon,” Mainetti said, maintaining the pandemic - which has battered the economy and transformed how people work - will not make it harder to find a new commercial tenant.
Atis isn't worried, convinced the Flatiron's future is a foregone conclusion.
"This building is going to be beautiful on the outside and the inside," he said. "People are just gonna want to come to this area and come to the building."