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25 October 2017, 01:04 | Melanie Burgess
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.
Hudson's Bay also said private equity firm Rhone Capital will invest $500 million in HBC, with the transactions reducing its debt by C$1.6 billion ($1.3 billion) and increasing liquidity by C$1.1 billion.
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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"We believe the partnership with WeWork to redefine retailing and reactivate less productive space throughout the company's global real estate portfolio will put us in a leadership position and add significant value to HBC shareholders", M. Steven Langman, managing director of Rhône, said.
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The deal also involves WeWork leasing space in HBC department stores, beginning with the upper floors of the Hudson's Bay locations on Queen Street in Toronto and Granville Street in Vancouver and Galeria Kaufhof in Frankfurt. Whether the agreement with WeWork will satisfy the investor, remains to be seen.
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.
Under the deal, Lord & Taylor will sell its almost 676,000 square-foot flagship to WeWork for $850 million after the 2018 holiday season. The retail space will be reduced from 650,000 sq. ft.to 150,000 sq. ft. and will be confined to the bottom floors.
Chairman Richard Baker will serve as the interim CEO while the company searches for a replacement.
WeWork launched in 2010, in Manhattan. The department store was the first to create Christmas windows for sheer entertainment, rather than for selling merchandise. It was recently valued at $20 billion, "Retail is changing and the role that real estate has to play in the way that we shop today must change with it", stated WeWork co-founder and CEO Adam Neuman.
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