The Daily Dirt: Amazon mulls buying WeWork’s Lord & Taylor building

An analysis of New York's top real estate news

TRD NEW YORK /
Feb.February 24, 2020 01:53 PM
The Lord & Taylor building at at 424-434 Fifth Avenue and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (Credit: Google Maps, Getty Images)

The Lord & Taylor building at at 424-434 Fifth Avenue and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (Credit: Google Maps, Getty Images)

Amazon is considering buying Lord & Taylor’s former flagship.

The potential deal is valued at $1 billion, David Jeans reports. The news comes after rumblings last year that the e-commerce giant was considering leasing the entire Fifth Avenue building.

An Amazon spokesperson on Friday wouldn’t comment, saying in an email that the company doesn’t weigh in on “rumors or speculation.”

WeWork closed on the $850 million purchase of the Lord & Taylor building in February and tapped Bjarke Ingels to design a $200 million overhaul of the property. Last year, WeWork employees had sounded off about the deal, pointing to Steve Langman’s role as a potential conflict of interest. Langman, a WeWork board member, held interests in the buyer, the seller and the tenant in the Midtown building before the sale closed. (He recused himself from voting on the deal.)

Sale of the building is part of WeWork’s broader efforts to recover from its failed initial public offering. The company has sold off assets and unwound other controversial transactions, including former CEO Adam Neumann’s purchase of properties that he then leased back to WeWork. The company has also taken steps to replace its eccentric former leader with more traditional executives with backgrounds in real estate. Earlier this month, the company named real estate industry veteran Sandeep Mathrani as the firm’s new CEO. He most recently served as CEO of Brookfield Properties’ retail group. WeWork also just hired Shyam Gidumal as chief operating officer. (He joins the firm from Ernst & Young.)

If Amazon goes through with this deal, the company would be making a pretty significant commitment to New York — after, of course, a stinging rejection. Last week marked the one-year anniversary of Amazon’s decision not to open a new headquarters in Long Island City. The company has since leased office and warehouse space elsewhere in the city, and in December, the company signed a 335,000-square-foot lease at SL Green Realty’s 410 10th Avenue on the Far West Side.

What we’re thinking about: Are you going to TRD’s Future City event in the Bahamas? Can you please still answer emails and calls from the sad, cold reporters back in New York? Send tips and ocean pics to [email protected].

CLOSING TIME

Residential: The priciest residential closing recorded Friday was for two penthouses at 45 East 22nd Street in the Flatiron District, at $45 million. The Wall Street Journal reported the deal.

Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was for an industrial building and parking lot at 133-25 37th Avenue in Flushing, at $60 million.

BREAKING GROUND

The largest new building filing of the day was for a 20,000-square-foot two-car garage at 186 Burgher Avenue in Dongan Hills in Staten Island (slow day). Adalat Khan filed the permit application.

NEW TO THE MARKET

The priciest residential listing to hit the market Friday was for a condo unit at 15 Central Park West in Lincoln Square, at $7 million. Compass’ Jacques Cohen has the listing. — Research by Mary Diduch

A thing we’ve learned…

The lender on 220 Amsterdam Avenue, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, and the co-developer, Mitsui Fudosan, are apparently part of the same conglomerate (the Mitsui Group). Thank you to Kevin Sun, who pointed this out

Elsewhere in New York

— Michael Bloomberg has agreed to release three women from their non-disclosure agreements related to sexual harassment allegations, the New York Post reports. “If any of them want to be released from their NDA so that they can talk about those allegations, they should contact the company and they’ll be given a release,” he said. The decision was a reversal of the former mayor’s assertions during this week’s Democratic presidential debate.

— Gov. Andrew Cuomo is willing to provide the federal government with the state’s DMV database — sans drivers’ Social Security numbers, Politico New York reports. The offer is in response to the fact that the federal government has blocked New Yorkers from participating in trusted traveler programs, a move that was in response to the state’s new law permitting undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses. The governor said that was always his offer to the feds, but Friday was the first time he indicated this publicly.

— So long, Train Daddy. NYC Transit President Andy Byford said goodbye to the MTA Friday, Gothamist reports. An impressive crowd gathered to send him off.


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