It was once known as the Piaget Building because the Swiss jeweler used to have offices in the skyscraper near Rockefeller Center.
In the near future, it will be known as property of the federal government.
U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest has granted a summary judgment that clears the way for the government to seize the 36-story office building owned by a corporation and foundation with ties to the Iranian government. The move is the latest chapter in a short but storied history that includes design by John Carl Warnecke, the same architect who drew up the John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, Logan International Airport in Boston and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
A statement by the U.S. Justice Department says the ruling "paves the way for the largest-ever terrorism-related forfeiture."
The building at 650 Fifth Ave. in Manhattan is owned by the Alavi Foundation and Assa Corp., which took part in money laundering, the statement says. Assa is a front for Bank Melli, which is a "a front for the government of Iran," according to the statement.
Contact information could not be found for Assa and no one could be reached at the foundation, which has offices in the building. A partial statement dated Tuesday on Alavi's Internet homepage indicated it has plans to appeal.
The foundation, according to the homepage, is dedicated to "promoting the teaching of Islamic Culture, Persian Language, Literature and Civilization."