- The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Amazon is in talks to lease the former Lord & Taylor flagship store as it continues its quest for office space in New York City. Amazon abandoned plans to build a controversial HQ2 campus in Queens in February.
- The building is currently owned by WeWork, which bought the building from Lord & Taylor for $US850 million. The location had been home to Lord & Taylor for more than a century.
- We visited the iconic store earlier this year before it officially closed its doors. This is what it looked like in its final days.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
As Amazon scrambles for office space after abandoning its contentious campus in Queens, the tech and retail behemoth is eyeing the former Lord & Taylor flagship building, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Lord & Taylor closed its iconic flagship location for good earlier in 2019 after more than a century of business, following several quarters of slumping sales and declining foot traffic. WeWork currently owns the space and resides in the building, after buying it for $US850 million in October 2017.
Sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal that Amazon is in talks with WeWork to lease out the entirety of the building’s 12 stories, or at least a portion of the space. However, specific details of the scope of the prospective deal remain unknown.
An Amazon spokesperson did not return Business Insider’s request for comment.
The news comes after Amazon revoked its initial plan in February to build a sprawling campus for employees in Long Island City, Queens, with the promise of infusing the community with 25,000 jobs over the next decade.
Amazon cancels New York HQ2
The surprising turn of events came in response to widespread outcry and protests from New York City residents and progressive lawmakers over the potential impact of Amazon’s HQ2 on neighbouring communities, as well as concern over the roughly $US3 billion in government incentives originally allotted as part of the effort.
Jessica Tyler contributed reporting to an earlier version of this story.
The Lord & Taylor flagship building is located on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, a major shopping destination in the city.
Amazon currently has more than 5,000 employees across multiple buildings in New York City. The Wall Street Journal reported that if the company takes over the Lord & Taylor building, it “it isn’t clear whether Amazon would relocate its existing New York City workforce or hire thousands of new employees.”
Amazon has reportedly been considering several potential office locations in New York, including the Farley Post Office building near Penn Station.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
The demise of the flagship came after parent company Hudson’s Bay decided to scale back operations and focus on its other, better-performing businesses like Saks Fifth Avenue.
The original plan was for Lord & Taylor to operate a smaller version of the store with 25% of the building, which was ultimately overturned.
In October 2018, closing sales were just beginning from within the iconic building.
When we visited in the fall of 2017, the store was still going ahead with its usual holiday displays leading into the primetime November and December shopping months.
We found some last-ditch attempts to appeal to millennial and Gen Z shoppers, such as this phone-charging station.
Lord & Taylor also installed booths like this one for shoppers interested in purchasing various furniture fixtures and equipment as it prepared to say goodbye at the end of 2018.
There was very minimal foot traffic in the store, indicative of its struggle.
The shelves were sparse.
Areas like this Calvin Klein display were completely barren.
Here we found another rack with no product.
There were clearance signs everywhere throughout the store.
Lord & Taylor made it very clear that everything must go.
Toward the end, products were selling for up to 70% off.
Certain sections of the store had been nearly cleared out, like this one.
And this one.
For now, the future of the historic building remains unknown, as it continues on under the ownership of WeWork.
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