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Phillips finds NY home while its owner, Bernard Arnault, headhunts in Sotheby’s

The auction house has acquired a 5,000 square foot facility in Manhattan

New York

Phillips, which has been searching for suitable premises for its American operation, has found its home. The auction house, citing its "dramatic expansion and ongoing plans for growth", has acquired the lease on a 12-floor, 60,000 square-foot building in midtown Manhattan. Built in 1947 and formerly a bank, the premises at 3 West 57th Street have a 5,000 square foot, column-free ground floor which will be converted into a saleroom with capacity for some 500 people. Rumours are flying that the lease is 10 years long, and that renovations could cost a whopping $18 million. As a comparison, Christie’s New York premises are “only” 22,500 square feet—perhaps an indication of the ambitions of the world’s number three auction house. The cheque book of Phillip’s owner, Bernard Arnault, contains to be active in recruitment. Sotheby’s long-serving head of fine arts, Michel Strauss, has been wooed away and from 1 January will become Arnault’s permanent adviser on “art-related projects”. Rumours abound that the luxury-goods mogul plans a museum, like his arch-rival François Pinault, owner of Christie’s, but without a collection this could take some time to build up.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 109 December 2000