A historic Fifth Avenue department store is now a modern office building. Amazon this week debuted its new digs at the former Lord & Taylor store in Midtown, which was built in 1914 and served as its flagship location for more than a century. After purchasing the building in March 2020 for nearly $1 billion, Amazon hired WRNS Studio to design the landmark as a 21st-century workplace that embraces its fashionable roots. Three years later, in the midst of Midtown’s recovery from the pandemic, the renovated building is now home to 2,000 employees.
In 2017, Lord & Taylor’s parent company, Hudson’s Bay Co., sold the 676,000-square-foot Italian Renaissance building to WeWork for $850 million. The deal closed in early 2019 and WeWork announced plans to turn the building into the company’s global headquarters. Amazon bought the building for $978 million in March 2020 and work began in 2022.
The building is named “Hank” after a unit of textile measurement for yarn. “Every aspect of the project plays off the New York experience, from materials that echo the neighborhood’s iconic cast iron and steel structures to panoramic views showcasing the city’s enchanting rooftop water towers,” the project page reads. “The work of local artists celebrates the textile traditions, while artifacts from the former department store enliven new spaces throughout the building.”
Level 12 is dedicated to food and beverage options, including “Dot’s,” a cafe named after Dorothy Shaver, who was president of the department store in 1945. Inspired by the store’s original restaurant of the same name, the “Bird Cage” is a unique workspace clad in a textile artwork created by a local artist. A new spiral staircase connects Levels 11-13.
There is no shortage of outdoor space for employees, including a rooftop terrace and a sunken courtyard. The Empire State Building-facing terrace features a landscaped pathway, a dog run (Amazon offices are dog-friendly), and access to the refurbished courtyard.
There are several different setups for staff to work, meet, and socialize, from the sunny Solarium Lounge with an original sloping skylight to the Arch Lounge, which boasts the original entry archway.
The project preserved several historic details of the original building, including cast iron arches, glass windows, and terracotta ceilings. Other artifacts were repurposed, like wood panels from a Scottish castle now seen on a fireplace and brass lintels from old elevators that now are on a sculpture.
The project was developed by Seneca Group; the construction manager was StructureTone.
You can read more here.
This is an exciting space and will hopefully encourage employees to go back to the office. Our team loves to be in our office at 851 Madison. The collaboration and energy you get from being together is unmatched!