Activists Win As Lord And Taylor Flagship Building Sold

HBC sells Lord & Taylor flagship to WeWork for 850mn dollars

Commercial-real-estate firm WeWork's $1-billion purchase of the Hudson's Bay Co.'s flagship Lord and Taylor store making waves in NY will send ripples through downtown Vancouver's commercial real estate market.

Under the deal, Lord & Taylor will sell its almost 676,000 square-foot flagship to WeWork for $850 million after the 2018 holiday season.

Hudson's Bay also said WeWork and private equity firm Rhone Capital would also invest US$500 million in the company.

The department store's flagship, known for its Christmas time displays on Fifth Avenue, has been sold to office company WeWork for $850 million. The property was appraised recently at about $3.7 billion, according to the New York Times.

"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. WeWork will convert most of the space in the 11-story landmark building into its headquarters. The company now anticipates minimal impact on the earnings from these locations.

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Hudson's Bay estimated that the overall deal would result in $1.6 billion in cash on its balance sheet and reduced debt.

The deals come as HBC faces increased pressure from a USA activist investor.

"The path to maximizing the value of Hudson's Bay lies in its real estate, not its retail brands", Jonathan Litt, the founder of Land and Buildings Investment Management, wrote in a letter to the board of Hudson's Bay in June.

"Added HBC" s Baker: "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, particularly as we add co-working and community space to existing, vibrant retail locations".

Adam Neumann, CEO and co-founder of WeWork, says the Lord & Taylor deal underscores his company's commitment to NY and underscores a larger trend in real estate. "There is no reason why retail space should not be part of that movement".

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