Classic retailer Macy’s Inc. is in early talks with the city about the possibility of building an 800-foot-tall office tower above the company’s Herald Square flagship location, Bloomberg reports. The retail brand, which has a 10-story office tower under construction atop its downtown Brooklyn store, is looking at ways to leverage its prime real estate in the bustling midtown crossroads. In this case, the tower would be used as office space for other companies.
The company is considering a 1.2 million-square-foot (111,500-square-meter) office tower that would probably require zoning changes around the property to allow for a height of 800 feet. It is estimated that the office tower would mean an additional 6,000 people would be heading for Herald Square to work.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer has confirmed that she met with the retailer late last month about the office tower plan. Brewer said in a statement, “Such a major addition of square footage to the area will require major public improvements to the streets and sidewalks that surround the Herald Square neighborhood, and I look forward to Macy’s contributions to ensure that this part of Midtown and the Garment Center sees relief.”
The iconic flagship, opened in 1902 and expanded in 1924, was the world’s largest retail store until 2009 when it was one-upped by a South Korean department store. The new tower would sit above the older building with an entrance on 35th Street according to reports.
Macy’s CEO Jeffrey Gennette said on a February conference call with investors that the company is planning to work with city officials and community stakeholders to find a way to “unlock additional real estate value,” with more news to come later this year, and that the plans won’t stop the company from planning “a number of exciting enhancements” at the retail space this year. Gennette said, “Over the last year and a half, we have been working closely with a team of land-use, development and design experts to produce a menu of economically viable redevelopment alternatives. These could densify the real estate with complementary uses and will certainly preserve the store and enhance the customer experience.”