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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)


Former Lord & Taylor flagship in November 2021 via CityRealty Former Lord & Taylor flagship in November 2021 via CityRealty
Once upon a time, New Yorkers and tourists alike would spend this time of year admiring the elaborate scenes of the holiday window displays at Lord & Taylor, the department store at 424 Fifth Avenue where no detail was overlooked - even the scaffolding around the building was decorated in greenery and lights at the holidays. However, a different type of lighting is taking place this year: A recent walk by the shuttered department store found the building lit up to show that renovations to the landmarked facade are nearly complete.
Amazon paid $1.15 billion for the Lord & Taylor flagship building in March 2020, after plans to turn the building into WeWork’s headquarters went south. The story broke shortly before New York City and the rest of the world shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic. Amazon has flourished since then, allowing the company to further invest in itself. (Founder Jeff Bezos made a few investments of his own at 212 Fifth Avenue, a condo conversion half a mile from the new headquarters - he purchased a penthouse and two additional apartments that summer, and now owns $119 million worth of real estate in the building.)
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Before it closed at the beginning of 2019, Lord & Taylor was one of New York's oldest retail stores, having started as a dry goods store in 1826 before becoming a department store. The store relocated several times before moving to Fifth Avenue and 38th Street. Starrett & Van Vleck's Italian Renaissance Revival design was immediately distinguished by its chamfered corner, copper cornice, limestone base, two-story arched entrance on Fifth Avenue, and two tiers of display windows. This was Starrett & Van Vleck's first department store, and the firm's work would later include the New York flagships of Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale's.

The Lord & Taylor building was described as "the best of its class" by Architecture magazine in 1914, around the time it was completed, and designated a New York City Landmark in 2007. The Landmarks Preservation Commission found that "the Lord & Taylor Building has a special character and a special historic and aesthetic interest and value as part of the development, heritage, and cultural characteristics of New York City."
424 fifth avenue 424 Fifth Avenue and the Michael Graves-designed condo 425 Fifth Avenue behind
The historic facade has been restored, and the ten-story building now features a one-story glass addition and rooftop garden designed by Bjarke Ingels Group. Additionally, in August 2020, when vaccines were not yet ready and work-from-home policies were in full force, Amazon announced plans to hire more than 3,500 new employees across six major cities, including 2,000 in New York.
It remains to be seen, though, how many of those employees will be working in the new office. The return to work plan would have seen corporate employees return in January 2022 for three days in the office and two days remote, but Amazon unveiled a new remote work policy for corporate employees in October 2021: The schedule is now up to individual teams. Moreover, it remains to be seen how the Omicron variant will affect this plan.

Nevertheless, Amazon is undeterred and plans to keep expanding its New York City footprint. The Lord & Taylor building comes in addition to Amazon’s office space at 410 Tenth Avenue, near Hudson Yards. And while Amazon’s plans for a Long Island City headquarters famously fell through, the retail behemoth is in talks for over 400,000 square feet of office space in Jersey City.
Amazon New York 424 Fifth Avenue
The new Amazon building is located down the street from Bryant Park, which is currently hosting its annual Winter Village, and the luxury shopping of Fifth Avenue that starts around Saks. However, this celebrated stretch is dotted with retail vacancies, possibly as a result of how Amazon has changed people's shopping habits.

It is also located to the northeast of Macy’s, which got in a dustup with Amazon earlier this fall. The giant billboard next to Macy’s is owned by Kaufman Realty, and the department store has long advertised itself on the billboard. However, when rumors surfaced of a deal to let Amazon advertise on the billboard, Macy’s objected on the grounds that terms of the original deal prevent Kaufman Realty from allowing a direct competitor to Macy’s to advertise on the billboard. A lawsuit was filed in New York State Supreme Court.
Macy's office tower Rendering via FXCollaborative
Regardless of the lawsuit's outcome, Macy’s plans to make some changes to its own flagship store. In spring 2019, Macy’s proposed a massive, FXCollaborative-designed office tower above the flagship; with the department store as the podium, the new tower would be elevated to supertall status. Two years later, Macy’s announced plans to transform Herald Square and Broadway Plaza into a car-free, pedestrian-friendly space with improved access to the subway and Penn Station. The 34th Street Partnership and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer have expressed optimism about the project, and Forbes points out that the renovation of the Macy's outpost at 422 Fulton Street gave its Downtown Brooklyn neighborhood a boost.
A timeline for the improvements has not yet been announced - indeed, the tower’s designs and approvals are not yet final - but they come at a time when the Midtown East rezoning inspired several new, soaring office towers on a once-sleepy corridor. One Vanderbilt opened to as much fanfare as the pandemic would allow last fall, and towers in the works include new headquarters for JP Morgan Chase at 270 Park Avenue, a 1,050-foot-high office tower at 343 Madison Avenue, and Project Commodore, a mixed-use, 1,646-foot-high supertall planned for 175 Park Avenue (the site of the Grand Hyatt developed by Donald Trump) and promising infrastructure improvements along with the new commercial tower.

Additionally, the new tall towers are not limited to the commercial sector. Construction has begun on 262 Fifth Avenue, a 1,000-foot-tall condominium set to become the tallest building on the avenue. In the opposite direction, renderings for a skinny new residential supertall measuring 995 feet high at 520 Fifth Avenue were revealed in summer 2021.

Local Listings
425-Fifth-Avenue-01 425 Fifth Avenue via Corcoran
From the Listing: Enjoy the ultimate urban lifestyle from this sprawling 777-square-foot home with a generous foyer that opens up beautifully to a south-facing living and dining room flooded with natural light. Celebrate iconic skyline views from your sofa as you entertain with authority. Feel relaxed and rejuvenated by the statement stone walls enhancing the living room experience. The kitchen features cherrywood cabinets, GE profile and Frigidaire appliances, black granite counter tops and Kohler fixtures. The primary bedroom is spacious and contains enormous amounts of closet space. See floor plan and full details here.

244-Madison-Avenue-01 Murray Hill Plaza via Compass
From the Listing: Sitting on top of Madison Avenue’s finest 1916 building, built by Arthur Loonis Harmon (the same architect who designed the Empire State building), is a stunning penthouse with spectacular terraces and New York City’s Midtown at your feet. It is a true penthouse in that this residence sits on top of the building proper and is accessed through a private entrance at rooftop level. This exquisitely designed residence is in perfect move-in condition. No work is needed at all. Light floods through all four exposures - north, south, east, and west. The thoughtful layout combines grand-scale customed loft-living with open exposures for a truly comfortable urban lifestyle. A sense of intimacy and privacy is achieved from its perch atop this prewar cooperative. See floor plan and full details here.

11-East-36th-Street-01 Morgan Lofts via Halstead Property LLC
From the Listing: This 10th floor one-bedroom loft is filled with all-day sunlight and boasts oversized windows with a bright northern exposure. The cheerful light and views are accentuated by soaring 12-foot ceilings. Residence 1004 features an open kitchen complete with a breakfast bar, Calacatta marble counters, Sub-Zero refrigerator, and a suite of stainless steel Kuppersbusch appliances that includes a dishwasher, oven and stove. The gracious spa-like bathroom is outfitted with Kohler fixtures like a deep soaking tub and separate standing shower and provides the perfect space to relax and unwind after a long day. See floor plan and full details here.

16-West-40th-Street-01 The Bryant via Douglas Elliman
From the Listing: Welcome home to The Bryant! This 1,329-square-foot corner 2-bed, 2.5-bath offers an abundance of natural light through 14 floor-to-ceiling windows that open completely on the south side to Juliet balconies - overlooking an amazing view of the Empire State Building. The custom terrazzo facade transitions seamlessly into the interiors, creating crisp architectural frames to the windows and a border for the heated oak herringbone floors. The residence's bespoke millwork, designed by David Chipperfield Architects exclusively for The Bryant, cleverly conceals storage, appliances, and mechanical systems, allowing continuous, almost 10-foot ceiling heights to carry throughout. See floor plan and full details here.

400-Fifth-Avenue-01 400 Fifth Avenue via Up Real Estate Advisors LLC
From the Listing: Located in one of New York’s most prestigious condominium atop the deluxe 5-star Langham Place Hotel, this unit is one of the largest two-bedroom apartments in the building. With east and south exposures, this 2-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom corner unit with 1,637 square feet has magnificent views overlooking the Empire State Building. Oak floors and matching wood doors complement the floor-to-ceiling windows. The entrance foyer opens up to a spacious living/dining room with an open Poliform chef’s kitchen with Mont Blanc stone countertops, Miele and Sub-Zero appliances. See floor plan and full details here.

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