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NEW YORK CITY-Auction House Sotheby’s says that it has repurchased its York Avenue flagship headquarters in New York City from an affiliate of RFR Holding Corp. for $370 million. Sotheby’s said in a release the purchase price was funded by the assumption of RFR’s mortgage of $235 million at a rate of 5.6%, a $50-million cash payment and another $85-million cash payment at closing last Friday.

RFR Holding Corp–the real estate partnership controlled primarily by Aby Rosen and Michael Fuchs–had bought the land and Sotheby’s building back in February 2003. According to a February 9 SEC filing, when Sotheby’s sold the building, it entered into an agreement to lease the space back from RFR for an initial 20-year term. The New York Times reported that Mr. Rosen had put the 10-story building on the auction block in 2007 for $500 million. However, on January 11, 2008, Sotheby’s entered a contract to repurchase the headquarters for $370 million.

The filing said the sale of the York property was scheduled to close July 1, 2009, but that was subject to RFR’s “right under the Purchase and Sale Agreement to accelerate the closing to an earlier date.” And, on November 21, 2008, RFR did just that, moving the date to February 6.

In addition to paid cash and assumed debt, Sotheby’s also agreed to give the principals of RFR certain terms for future sales of works of art at art dealer’s storied auctions according to the SEC. As an August 2005 New York Times article pointed out, RFR’s Rosen has been described as an avid collector of art. The Times article read Rosen “satisfies his thirst for trading through is 450 work art collection.”

In a release, Sotheby’s says that it expects net decreases in depreciation expense and interest expense of about $2 million and $3 million respectively, for the years 2009, when compared to 2008. Sotheby’s did not return GlobeSt.com queries by deadline.

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