(Bloomberg) -- When Sotheby’s revealed that it had purchased the Whitney Museum’s Breuer building on Madison Avenue earlier this year, plans for its 500,000-square-foot headquarters on York Avenue were left open-ended.
Now the company has announced that it’s leased 5 of the building’s 10 floors to Weill Cornell Medicine, which will devote the space to research purposes. In total, the institution will occupy about 200,000 square feet of Sotheby’s building; the floors will eventually be used by more than 700 faculty and staff. By the time the medical organization has established itself at 1334 York Ave., Sotheby’s will have vacated the building. But no plans for a sale have been announced.
Sotheby’s didn’t disclose what it intends to do with the building’s bottom four floors, which include high-ceilinged gallery spaces, though a spokesperson for the company noted that Sotheby’s staff and Weill Cornell Medicine staff won’t occupy the building at the same time.
“What’s most exciting is it’s allowing us, in a perfectly situated space, to put together groups of scientists who are approaching problems from different perspectives,” says Dr. Robert Harrington, the dean of Weill Cornell Medicine and provost for medical affairs of Cornell University. “It’s also allowing us to move people from other research spaces where they might not have had enough space, and finally, it’s allowing us to have incremental space where we can bring new faculty and their associated research programs to campus.”
The institution, whose central campus is next door, plans to build a “dry lab space,” which focuses on computational research methods, and a “wet lab space” that uses drugs, chemicals and other biological matter for investigation. There will also be workspaces and large conference rooms.
Weill Cornell Medicine will occupy the building in phases. The first phase involves the gut renovation of Floors 5 and 6, with an anticipated opening date of fall 2026; the second phase of floors seven through nine won’t begin until Sotheby’s leaves the building in 2025. Weill Cornell Medicine has the option to also lease the building’s 10th floor.
“What’s unusual is that it’s not typical to find a preexisting building that’s well-suited for research space,” Harrington says. “You have to have appropriate weight on the floor for heavy equipment, high ceilings and great lighting.”
The news comes as Sotheby’s is in transition. Aside from the Breuer building, which will be Sotheby’s new headquarters, the company recently acquired an approximately 250,000-square-foot office building in Long Island City, Queens. In addition, a Sotheby’s spokesperson confirmed that the auction house plans to lease additional office space near to the Breuer building.
In a release announcing news of the lease to Weill Cornell Medicine, the company wrote that “the leasing of some of our space at 1334 York Avenue is a continuation of the strategic transformation of our operational process and client experience in New York.” The release went on to say that “Sotheby’s will continue to host exhibitions and auctions without disruption at 1334 York Ave until 2025.”
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