See Amazon’s new NYC office at historic Lord & Taylor building

September 13, 2023

Photo credit: Bilyana Dimitrova, courtesy WRNS Studio.

A historic Fifth Avenue department store is now a modern office building. Amazon this week debuted its new digs at the former Lord & Taylor store in Midtown, which was built in 1914 and served as its flagship location for more than a century. After purchasing the building in March 2020 for nearly $1 billion, Amazon hired WRNS Studio to design the landmark as a 21st-century workplace that embraces its fashionable roots. Three years later, in the midst of Midtown’s recovery from the pandemic, the renovated building is now home to 2,000 employees.

In 2017, Lord & Taylor’s parent company, Hudson’s Bay Co., sold the 676,000-square-foot Italian Renaissance building to WeWork for $850 million. The deal closed in early 2019 and WeWork announced plans to turn the building into the company’s global headquarters. Amazon bought the building for $978 million in March 2020 and work began in 2022.

The building measures more than 600,000 square feet and will be home to 2,000 employees, about a fifth of Amazon’s New York-area workforce, according to the Wall Street Journal.

According to WRNS Studio, the design honors the history of the Lord & Taylor building as well as the memories New Yorkers made when shopping for a special outfit or taking in the annual holiday window displays. The building is named “Hank” after a unit of textile measurement for yarn.

“Every aspect of the project plays off the New York experience, from materials that echo the neighborhood’s iconic cast iron and steel structures to panoramic views showcasing the city’s enchanting rooftop water towers,” the project page reads. “The work of local artists celebrates the textile traditions, while artifacts from the former department store enliven new spaces throughout the building.”

Level 12 is dedicated to food and beverage options, including “Dot’s,” a cafe named after Dorothy Shaver, who was president of the department store in 1945. Inspired by the store’s original restaurant of the same name, the “Bird Cage” is a unique workspace clad in a textile artwork created by a local artist. A new spiral staircase connects Levels 11-13.

There is no shortage of outdoor space for employees, including a rooftop terrace and a sunken courtyard. The Empire State Building-facing terrace features a landscaped pathway, a dog run (Amazon offices are dog-friendly), and access to the refurbished courtyard.

A grand staircase reminiscent of city fire escapes connects every floor from the second level to the rooftop, with workplaces centered around it. There are several different setups for staff to work, meet, and socialize, from the sunny Solarium Lounge with an original sloping skylight to the Arch Lounge, which boasts the original entry archway.

The project preserved several historic details of the original building, including cast iron arches, glass windows, and terracotta ceilings. Other artifacts were repurposed, like wood panels from a Scottish castle now seen on a fireplace and brass lintels from old elevators that now are on a sculpture.

The project was developed by Seneca Group; the construction manager was StructureTone.


Photo credit: Bilyana Dimitrova, courtesy WRNS Studio.

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Tags: Amazon
Location: Midtown

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  1. G

    Sad to see a retail icon like Lord & Taylor leaving Fifth Avenue.

  2. B

    Wonderful recreation of the space that addresses Amazon’s needs, delineating specific areas what flow well together. The light and New York skyline come in, making the people who work there feel human, which is so important.

  3. K

    Do you notice they don’t show any of the work spaces… telling

  4. L

    Great article would love to work there . Great writing and photos

  5. O

    Amazing post. The photos used in this post are very good.
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