Would a skyscraper atop Macy’s flagship in New York City go in the right direction? – RetailWire


04 June 2021

Macy’s has struggled to regain its national profile for some time, but CEO Jeff Gennette wants to focus on growing into the Big Apple. Mr. Gennette plans to transform the already large and iconic Macy’s Herald Square location into a massive retail landmark.

Mr Gennette has pledged to build a skyscraper above the Herald Square Macy site and invest $ 235 million in the area around the store, according to Bloomberg.

Would a skyscraper atop Macy's flagship in New York City go in the right direction?
Render: FXCollective

The 1.5 million square foot skyscraper as it was designed in February 2020, would consist primarily of offices and include a “Sky Lobby” section where visitors could admire Midtown Manhattan, according to New York Yimby. Macy’s investments in the surrounding neighborhood would include upgrading the Herald Square subway station and improving access points, building new entrances at nearby Penn station, adding ADA-approved elevators, and upgrading the adjacent public square. The retailer predicts the investment will generate $ 269 million in annual tax revenue for the city when completed.

The impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on the way people work and live in New York City, however, has some questioning whether this move represents a potentially costly misstep.

The New York Times reported last month that businesses in the Financial District and Midtown are seeing significant declines in foot traffic as the majority of workers now work from home rather than in these predominantly business-oriented areas. A concomitant decline in tourism has also affected businesses in these regions.

Questions also remain about the number of employees who will return to work in these fields as the United States opens up. Many companies are considering staying with full time work from home or hybrid work models.

The challenge of office sustainability given the post-pandemic circumstances is not lost on Mr. Gennette, who said Bloomberg he sees movement as a “long game”.

Macy’s saw a slight increase in in-store and online sales in the first quarter of this year, which Gennette says is more than just pop in the short term. He explained on a results conference call that he was confident in “accelerated profitable growth in 2021 and beyond.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think is the result of Macy’s plan for her flagship NYC Herald Square and the surrounding neighborhood? Is this a wise investment on the part of Macy’s management or is it better to direct these resources elsewhere?

Braintrust

“To make the whole area a hot spot for New Yorkers. I think that’s great.”

“The problem with Herald Square is that New Yorkers avoid it, much like Times Square. It’s a tourist destination, much like Times Square.”

“Hey, maybe in the near future some New Yorkers who fled NYC will come back from their apartments in Florida.”

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