Earlier this year WeWork revealed that its chief architect, Bjarke Ingels, would lead the restoration and preservation efforts at the landmarked Lord & Taylor building, as the shared workspace company plans its move into the 11-story Fifth Avenue icon. Last week, Ingels’ team presented the first set of designs to the local community board as part of a city review process concerning landmarked buildings. Thanks to that, we now have our first look at what that restoration and preservation work will entail.
Some of the highlights of this design proposal are as follows: the basement, first and second floors of the building will be preserved as retail and be open to the public during business hours; the retail bay windows will be expanded to their original size; the Fifth Ave. entryway will be expanded to make it wheelchair accessible; the original Lord & Taylor emblems on the Fifth Ave. entrance will be preserved; and the balconies on the sixth floor will be restored as will the rooftop courtyard.
Lord & Taylor’s flagship Fifth Avenue store is currently in the midst of a store-closing sale and will shutter for good early next year. It will however continue to operate out of its 45 other locations.
It was initially reported that a luxury residential and office tower might rise above the Fifth Avenue building, but then Lord & Taylor’s parent company, Hudson Bay, decided to sell the building to WeWork for $850 million last year. While the lower floors of the building will remain retail spaces, everything above will be taken up by WeWork. The company will have to get approval from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission before moving forward.