By Michelle Graff
WeWork’s current New York headquarters (pictured here) are located on 18th Street in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood but will move into the Lord & Taylor building on Fifth Avenue after Christmas 2018. WeWork operates co-working spaces used by entrepreneurs, freelancers, small companies and start-ups worldwide.
New York--Hudson’s Bay Co. announced Tuesday that it is selling the Lord & Taylor Fifth Avenue flagship store to co-working space company WeWork in a deal valued at $850 million.

Under the terms of the deal, the 676,000-square-foot store will continue to operate through Christmas 2018. After that, WeWork will move its New York headquarters from Chelsea into the Lord & Taylor building, which also will be home to additional WeWork shared office space.

A Lord & Taylor store will continue to operate on the bottom floors of the building, which is located on the west side of Fifth Avenue between 38th and 39th streets, though it will be much smaller--150,000 square feet, or about a quarter of the entire space.

The planned sale of this iconic New York retail space, which opened in 1914 and is literally a city landmark, is yet another example of a large retailer coming under pressure to cut back on the amount of physical space it has and cash in on valuable real estate holdings as sales fall and more shopping is done online.

In a company statement, HBC Governor, Executive Chairman and interim CEO Richard Baker said: “HBC and WeWork have been working together to reimagine retail environments for current and future generations. This is a transformative partnership that rethinks how retailers create exciting environments and leverage less productive space while substantially improving the value proposition.”

WeWork CEO and founder Adam Neumann noted that, “Retail is changing and the role that real estate has to play in the way that we shop today must change with it.”

HBC said it will use the proceeds from the transaction to pay down debt.

As part of the deal, WeWork also will begin leasing space in other HBC-operated stores, starting with the upper floors of the Hudson’s Bay department stores on Queen Street in Toronto and Granville Street in Vancouver, as well as the Galeria Kaufhof department store in Frankfurt, Germany.

The news of HBC’s deal with WeWork comes less than a week after the retailer announced that CEO Gerald (Jerry) Storch was stepping down and would be replaced on an interim basis by Baker.

Headquartered in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, HBC operates the Hudson’s Bay, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks Off Fifth, Galeria Kaufhof (Germany) and Galeria Inno (Belgium) department store chains, as well as online retailer Gilt.

HBC ranks No. 17 on the $100 Million Supersellers list in National Jeweler’s 2017 State of the Majors report, with an estimated $431 million in watch and jewelry sales in North America last year.

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