WeWork shows plan for Lord & Taylor building as tech space

October 31, 2018 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) — The WeWork office space-sharing firm moving into the Lord & Taylor flagship building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan unveiled some grand plans Tuesday for the landmark Italian Renaissance Revival edifice occupied for more than a century by the famed retailer.

The landmarks committee of Manhattan’s Community Board 5 got a first look at renderings of the future high-tech space to be leased to entrepreneurs, upstarts and anyone who can pay.

Facing debt and online competition, the Lord & Taylor Co. was preparing to close its Manhattan store after the Christmas holidays, along with two small stores outside the city. Two others already have been shuttered.

WeWork is in the process of purchasing the Manhattan building with financial partners for a reported $850 million.

The building was designated a historic landmark in 2007 by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission that must approve the new designs, upon the recommendation of the community board committee.

The rooftop of the nearly 700,000-square-foot building will feature a translucent, glass courtyard to be used as a private space for employees, while restoring and preserving the historic exterior of the building occupied by Lord & Taylor since 1914.

The project was presented Tuesday by the team of chief architect Bjarke Ingels.

The aim is to keep the basement, first and second floors as retail space open to the public during business hours. No tenant has yet been announced.

The historic bay windows will be restored to their original, bigger size, and the Fifth Avenue entrance will be expanded to make it wheelchair accessible, while retaining the original Lord & Taylor emblems.

Inside, the sixth floor balconies will be restored.

Granit Gjonbalaj, WeWork’s chief development officer, called the project “an opportunity to honor our home city’s rich history, while also building toward the future by revitalizing this iconic space as a heartbeat of culture, commerce and innovation.”