The Real Deal New York

This activist investor wants luxury condos in Saks Fifth Avenue

Jonathan Litt wrote letter to Hudson’s Bay board
July 31, 2017 05:15PM

Jonathan Litt and Saks Fifth Avenue flagship in New York City (Credit: Getty Images)

Part of Saks Fifth Avenue’s Manhattan flagship store could be turned into luxury condominiums if one activist investor has his way.

Jonathan Litt, who runs the hedge fund Land and Buildings, wrote a letter to Canadian retail giant Hudson’s Bay Company’s board Monday urging it to consider new directors, taking the public company private and selling off its subsidiary Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomberg reported.

A Saks sale could also allow the company to turn the upper floors of its flagship store at 611 Fifth Avenue into condos and rent part of the lower floors to smaller retailers, Litt argued. “The Saks Fifth Avenue banner would likely be in high demand from potential buyers, allowing the company to focus on the Canadian market it has long dominated,” he wrote.

Hudson’s Bay’s stock fell 35 percent over the past year, echoing the troubles of other department store operators like Macy’s and Neiman Marcus.

Litt is known as an activist investor who specializes in REITs. His previous targets include Mack-Cali Realty and New York REIT.

In April, Hudson’s Bay said it is considering a spinoff of its real estate assets.  [Bloomberg]Konrad Putzier