Amazon readies revival of Lord & Taylor building

Office property purchased for $1B to welcome 2K employees

Amazon executive chairman Jeff Bezos and 424 Fifth Avenue (Getty, Jim.henderson, Public domain - via Wikimedia Commons)

Amazon executive chairman Jeff Bezos and 424 Fifth Avenue (Getty, Jim.henderson, Public domain – via Wikimedia Commons)

More than three years after putting down more than $1.1 billion to buy the Lord & Taylor building, Amazon is finally ready to reopen.

The e-commerce giant is slated to bring 2,000 employees to the redeveloped property at 424 Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan this summer, the New York Post reported. Employees should begin filtering into the landmarked building as soon as next month.

The 11-story building has been updated to include a landscaped rooftop, an indoor dining area and a dog run. The property’s various amenities are meant to be a pull for employees to come to the office, if Amazon’s mandate of three days each week doesn’t get them moving.

The building’s opening could help boost the spirits of hospitality and retail landlords in the vicinity with a bump in foot traffic. It also comes after the e-commerce giant memorably pulled out of its HQ2 plan in Long Island City in 2019 and recently paused construction on its Virginia headquarters.

Amazon will still rent office space at its other locations in the borough, especially as construction work continues along.

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It’s been a long journey for Amazon at the Lord & Taylor building. The company closed on its $1.15 billion purchase of the property in March 2020 — one day before Covid upended the United States. The deal worked out to roughly $2,000 per square foot.

WeWork purchased the building in 2017 for $850 million, before its botched initial public offering. The tailspin made it impossible for the co-working giant to hang on to the property, which it planned to use as its headquarters.

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Amazon last year retreated from an office expansion in the city. It was reportedly in talks to lease space at 5 Manhattan West in Hudson Yards, where JPMorgan Chase put 100,000 square feet up for sublease; it’s not clear how much space Amazon was exploring taking.

Holden Walter-Warner