Hudson's Bay to sell Lord & Taylor Fifth Ave building, shares jump

HBC to sell Fifth Avenue flagship Lord & Taylor store

After that, it will be converted into WeWork's NY headquarters along with WeWork office space and a redesigned Lord & Taylor store of approximately 150,000 square feet (14,000 square meters), according to the companies.

After the holiday season is over, WeWork will start renovating the Lord & Taylor building, which opened in 1914 and was named a New York City landmark in 2007. As a part of the deal, Rhône will take a minority stake in the company, purchasing $500 million (632 million Canadian) in convertible shares.

Office-sharing startup WeWork said it is buying Lord & Taylor's flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan in a joint venture with Rhone Capital.

That is 30 per cent above the most recent appraised value, according to a press release from HBC.

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"As we've said and done in the past multiple times, if there's an opportunity for someone to give us a very high valuation on one of our assets, we'd be willing to sell it", Richard Baker, HBC executive chairman and interim chief executive officer, told Reuters. The 650,000-square-foot building will be downsized into office space for all but a remaining 150,000 square feet for the store by 2019.

Hudson's Bay said the deal would help it reduce debt by C$1.6 billion (S$1.72 billion) and ramp up its liquidity to about C$1.1 billion. The vacancy rate on Fifth Avenue, the heart of the city's high-end shopping district and home to the most expensive retail real estate in the world, reached a record past year.

In August, news spread that HBC was planning to hire a financial advisor to review all options, including taking the company private, exiting some retail businesses and offloading key real estate holdings. And as such, he sees the transaction as a boon to HBC department stores because not only are they monetizing unproductive space, but he anticipates a sales boost as a result of the WeWorks presence.

As a co-working company, WeWork leases relatively small work spaces to freelancers, start-ups and other individuals and firms for shorter periods of time than traditional commercial landlords.

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