Macy’s unveils $235M plan for public space and subway accessibility with new Herald Square tower

May 11, 2021

Renderings by FXCollaborative

It’s been two years since Macy’s first floated the idea of building a 700-950 foot office tower atop its Herald Square flagship, and it looks like the plan is getting closer to reality thanks to a $235 million private investment in transit accessibility and public infrastructure. This includes upgraded subway access, improved transit connections, ADA-accessible elevators, and a modernized car-free Herald Square and Broadway Plaza.

Macy’s has had its iconic flagship store in Herald Square since 1902, and it is the country’s largest department store. The plans to build a revenue-creating office tower atop their landmarked building solidified in early 2020, just as the retailer announced plans to close 125 department stores. Of course, this was before the pandemic struck New York City and office space was still considered a safe bet, but perhaps the state’s $51 billion plan to redevelop Midtown West, including a completely renovated Penn Station, make them confident in their investment in the area.

As planned, the tower could encompass 1.2 million square feet of office space, complete with a glass façade, setbacks, a crown, and a sky lobby. A tower of this height is based on a rezoning that has yet to be approved. Macy’s does acknowledge this fact on its new website for the project.

When Macy’s plans were first made public, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer had said, “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 company has kept its word and revealed a preliminary plan on which they will work closely with local officials, Manhattan Community Board 5, the 34th Street Partnership, and other community stakeholders on final designs. According to a press release, the current plan would:

  • Transform Herald Square & Broadway Plaza into a modern, car-free pedestrian-friendly urban space for New Yorkers and visitors to gather and enjoy one of the city’s most storied locations with upgraded connections to public transportation and substantial improvements to the Herald Square Subway Station
  • Ease pedestrian access at Broadway and 34th Street while creating efficient, new transit entrances to the Herald Square Subway Station near Penn Station
  • Enhance entry to Herald Square Subway Station at Greeley Square by adding a significantly improved new gateway entrance
  • Add ADA-accessible elevators at 7th Avenue & 34th Street and 35th Street & Broadway to the subway station while creating additional pedestrian space on the northern edge of Penn Station

The press release also says that the plan is expected to “generate $269 million annually in new tax revenues for New York City, support 16,290 annual jobs, and spark $4.29 billion in annual economic output.”

“Macy’s Herald Square is one of New York City’s most iconic institutions, and, as we plan for the future, we are doubling down on our commitment to New York by reinvesting in our flagship location while committing $235 million in private investment to upgrade the Herald Square neighborhood through our tower project,” said Jeff Gennette, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Macy’s, Inc.

The designs for the new tower are still being finalized, as are the necessary approvals, but FXCollaborative is responsible for all of the architectural work. A timeline for the tower and neighborhood improvements has not yet been made public.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Macy’s investment totaled $325 million instead of $235 million.


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