Hudson's Bay selling Lord & Taylor 5th Ave building for US$850m
25 October, 2017, 01:04 | Author: Samuel Sharp
Canadian department store operator Hudson's Bay Co agreed to sell its Lord & Taylor building for $850 million to SoftBank-backed WeWork Cos and shrink the flagship store on New York's Fifth Avenue to a quarter of its current size, HBC said on Tuesday.
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.
Under the deal, Lord & Taylor will sell its almost 676,000 square-foot flagship to WeWork for $850 million after the 2018 holiday season.
He added that WeWork, which provides shared workspace for entrepreneurs and startups, is paying a 30 percent premium to the Lord & Taylor building's last appraised value.
"This is a transformative partnership that rethinks how retailers create exciting environments and leverage less productive space, while substantially improving the value proposition", HBC executive chairman Richard Baker said in a release. 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 previous year.
Lord & Taylor's Fifth Avenue flagship in 2006.
The transaction comes as Hudson's Bay or HBC is under intense pressure from activist shareholder Land & Buildings Investment Management LLC to evaluate all strategic options to maximize value for shareholders, including monetization or repurposing of the company's real estate. It could also add 20 WeWork locations in HBC businesses around the world, Baker said. 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. "Our partnership with the WeWork team creates new opportunities for HBC to redefine the traditional department store by extending those communities and drive additional traffic to our stores". A small portion will be devoted to Lord & Taylor, which will rent the space from WeWork. "People from every walk of life are seeking spaces in big cities that allow for human connections".
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