Skip to Content
CityRealty Logo

Carter's View

The five-story, 14,336-square foot building at 901 Broadway that was built in 1870 for the Lord & Taylor Dry Goods Store store has been sold in an all cash transaction for $24,600,000, according to Massey Knakal Realty Services, which had previously brokered its sale in October, 2006 to Thor Equities for $17,375,000.

The building was acquired by a Spanish investor.

Robert Knakal, chairman of Massey Knakal, said that the building traded at $1,716 a square foot "or a 5.6 percent cap rate." "his sale, at a very high price per square foot, is a good sign for the market which is sorely in need of good signs," he said.

The 7,000-square-foot ground floor is occupied by Miss Sixty, a fashion retailer, for $313 a square foot. Floors two through four are occupied by a gallery tenant who originally signed a lease for the second floor at $70 per square foot before deciding to take over the third and fourth floors at $62 per square foot, Mr. Knakal said, adding that the penthouse is vacant.

The building was declared a city landmark in 1977.

Thor Equities had bought out two rent-stabilized residential tenants on the building's top floor.

The landmark designation report for the building said that "Handsomely designed in the French Second Empire style by the architect James H. Giles, the store was constructed with the most up-to-date materials of the time, cast iron and glass, and hailed as strikingly modern and elegant when it was completed in 1870."

"The prestigious firm of Lord & Taylor began as a small dry goods store in lower Manhattan," it continued, "in the early 19th century. Samuel Lord was born in Saddleworth, England, and worked in in iron foundry there owned by James Taylor. At the age of 21, Lord married Taylor's daughter, Mary, and shortly afterward the couple emigrated to America. In 1826, Lord opened a dry goods store at 47 Catherine Street and soon made his wife's cousin, George Washington Taylor, his partner in the new venture. The store was an immediate success and in 19832 the firm moved to more spacious quarters on Catherine Street....The extremely successful firm of Lord & Taylor continued to expand and in 1853 moved to a larger store at Grand and Chrystie Streets. This new building, the third in the history of Lord & Taylor stores, was skillfully designed with a large central rotunda crowned by a dome. Soon, however, this space also proved too small and another 'branch' of the store was opened at Grand Street and Broadway in 1860. The rapidly expanding business of the firm led Samuel Lord to take in tow new partners - his oldest son, John T. Lord, an John S. Lyle, who had been the first errand boy to work in the store."

In the 1860's many firms such as A. T. Stewart, Arnold Constable and Siegel-Cooper moved north and created the Ladies' Mile shopping District in the high teens and low twenties between Broadway and Sixth Avenue. According to the designation report, "The Lord & Taylor building was erected on land owned by two different families who leased the property to the firm. The three lots along Broadway belonged to New York's distinguished Goelet family. Peter Goelet (1800-1879) lived across the street in a brownstone at Broadway and 19th Street and reputedly refused to sell any of the land which had once comprised his family's farm....The Goelets and the firm of Lord & Taylor commissioned the architect James H. Giles to design the store....The architect...took full advantage of the site by creating a diagonal corner, which he accentuated with a tall tower. On the interior, the magnificent hall of the first floor was executed in black walnut and ash....In 1914, Lord & Taylor moved uptown to its present building at Fifth Avenue and 38th Street."

Additional Info About the Building

Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.