Macy’s plans big upgrade of Herald Square, with new office tower atop flagship

Marianne Wilson
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Macy’s is making a big investment in the neighborhood that surrounds its most iconic store, its flagship in New York City’s Herald Square.  

Macy’s plan, which includes $235 million of private investment in the neighborhood, would upgrade Herald Square’s transit infrastructure and public realm into a “modern, pedestrian-friendly urban space with upgraded subway access, improved transit connections and ADA-accessible elevators.” The plan also includes the building of a commercial office tower above the store. 

The design of the new building is still being developed. But Macy’s said it will be “a contextually appropriate addition to the neighborhood and add complementary density to this transit-oriented development district.”

The news that Macy’s wanted to build an office tower above the Herald Square flagship first surfaced in 2019. But the plan was put on a back-burner due to the pandemic. 

The renewal plan is expected to generate $269 million annually in new tax revenues for New York City, support 16,290 annual jobs and spark $4.29 billion in annual economic output.

“Macy’s Herald Square is one of New York City’s most iconic institutions, and, as we plan for the future, we are doubling down on our commitment to New York by reinvesting in our flagship location while committing $235 million in private investment to upgrade the Herald Square neighborhood through our tower project,” said Jeff Gennette, chairman and CEO of Macy’s. “We are proud to make this leadership investment in New York’s recovery and are excited to welcome visitors back to Herald Square not only today, but for generations to come.” 

The Herald Square flagship has been open since 1902 and has undergone numerous renovations and expansions. The store will remain open throughout the project.

The new project would upgrade and make temporary plaza improvements permanent, dedicate areas for pedestrians that address accessibility and ADA-specific issues, and ease overcrowding and congestion to allow for a safer, more inviting open space, according to Macy’s.

The retailer said it will work closely with local officials, Manhattan Community Board 5, the 34th Street Partnership and other community stakeholders on final designs. Macy’s Herald Square will remain open throughout the project timeline, which will go through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure process.

“Macy’s investment in the Herald Square neighborhood, one of New York City’s most heavily trafficked and visited destinations, is a real marker that the city is set to come roaring back,” said Melva M. Miller, CEO, Association for a Better New York. “As an institution with a century-long track record in New York, we commend Macy’s for not only paving a way forward but also for being a great community steward and helping make the Herald Square experience more enjoyable for locals and tourists alike by enhancing the area and offering much-needed transit improvements.”