Long has WeWork, since rebranded the We Company, been a name in real estate as a builder and marketer of shared office spaces (both virtual and physical), beneficial to businesses and individual entrepreneurs. With a recently delayed IPO, WeWork may need to pivot their growth strategy and reach within New York and elsewhere. Barring a failed IPO, its Fifth Avenue holding, the Lord & Taylor building, may soon be home to a major name that has been looking to expand its influence in the New York City area.
Reports suggest that Amazon may be eyeing a lease in a portion of the building since political opposition put a stop the previously-anticipated headquarters construction in Long Island City. Additional reports state that Jeff Bezos has been buying up residential property within blocks of the location and has done little to quiet the chatter.
What Would It Mean for Amazon to Settle in This Location?
It is first important to note that this will not be the first time that Amazon has leased from the We Company in order to do business. In fact, it is reported to be one of the We Company’s largest and most frequent clients, owing to quicker turnaround and expansion. The We Company tends to send leases out to businesses months far ahead of other options that require time-consuming additional planning.
Another benefit Amazon would have in setting up base in a We Company-owned location would be no need to pay property taxes, which would have been a major expense had the HQ2 project in Queens gone forward. The Lord & Taylor building space would be another We Company property they would lease.
What Could It Mean for New York Workers?
For the people of New York, the promise of new jobs in such an important location is not to be overlooked. However, sources have yet to confirm whether an Amazon location in the Lord & Taylor building would be filled with new hires or transferred workers from a previous site.
However, We Co.’s CEO may soon be removed due in part to a postponed IPO. With lost faith in fundraising and valuation, the site might be in jeopardy. It is looked at with great speculation because 2019 has been a strong year of IPOs with fellow tech-based startups like Lyft and Uber growing each quarter.
If the project proceeds jobs may be on the rise for people in construction and development. The We Company has contracted with known architect Bjarke Ingels to help the redesign of the building. Over 500k square feet of space is to be reworked, including headquarters and office spaces in the upper floors. As their new chief architect, they are hoping to see his innovations throughout this project as well as others, including WeGrow, an elementary school currently in the works. Along with refitting the upper floors for offices, some changes to the building, as reported late last year, may include:
- Retaining the basements, first, and second floors for retail space;
- A rooftop courtyard to be added;
- Restored balconies on the upper floors;
- Restoring the main floor’s original bay windows and entrance space; and more.
As a historic landmark, all full plans will have to be approved before moving forward, but the manpower required to update the building should stretch through multiple trades.
Why Are Conglomerates Like Amazon Choosing Manhattan to Set Up Shop?
Amazon is not the only major tech company eyeing New York City as a major base of operations, with corporations like Google and Facebook also finding new homes for themselves. This is owed largely to attractive elements such as room for office spaces, either through new construction developments or redevelopments and leases through companies like the We Company, as well as a high concentration of tech-experienced workers in the area ready to come to work for them.
In light of the metropolitan area’s continued efforts to improve on existing structures and implement mixed-use spaces for citizens of all backgrounds, the landscape will only continue to change and evolve, even where tech giants like Amazon plan to settle.