Amazon employees in New York City officially have an inspiring new office and collaboration space. This summer, Amazon welcomed more than 2,000 employees to start working from the company’s latest investment in its New York Tech Hub: the historic Lord & Taylor building.
Amazon undertook an extensive restoration and years long renovation of this building, which was designated an official New York City landmark in 2007, to bring it back to its original glory. The building was then converted to a modern office space where teams can come together to innovate for Amazon’s customers. Our office expansions are long-term investments and we continue to see value in bringing people together in an office space to foster collaboration and cross pollination of ideas.
With over 35,000 square feet of retail space planned for the first floor, the new office also creates opportunities for businesses and new restaurants in Midtown Manhattan, which was hit particularly hard during the pandemic. Additionally, Amazon’s community commitment at Hank includes a partnership with City University of New York (CUNY) to provide class and event space for 25 associated colleges.
Amazon leaders were joined by local New York policymakers, including New York City Mayor Eric Adams, to celebrate the grand opening and officially cut the ribbon.
“Amazon you have been just amazing,” said Mayor Adams. “The way you have brought 18,000 jobs to our region. This new initiative here with 2,000 employees coming in three days a week…This ribbon cutting here today is more than just a symbolic gesture…it is cutting through the inertia that prevents us from being the city that we ought to be.”
Internally, the building has been dubbed, ‘Hank,’ a term for a measure of yarn that honors the building’s roots as a clothing department store. The thirteen-story building provides new conference rooms, lounge areas, training rooms, and a team suite for collaborative working sessions, along with desk space for more individually-focused work.
The top three floors make up Hank’s Center of Energy, where the ribbon cutting event was held. Centers of Energy became a staple in Amazon design more than a decade ago, when leaders wanted to challenge the norm of a typical office space and infuse ways to spark energy for employees. Hank’s Center of Energy includes an event space, café, and lounge, in addition to a rooftop terrace that was integrated into the building’s historic sunken-in courtyard located on the eleventh floor.
“It’s been 3 ½ years since we first acquired the Lord & Taylor building, and we feel honored to be a part of the journey restoring and reimagining the next phase of life for this historic piece of the city,” said John Schoettler, Amazon’s vice president of Global Real Estate and Facilities. “Adaptive reuse and converting older buildings is always complex—doing so with a designated landmark is a special undertaking.”
“We purposely invest in urban cores where Amazon employees can work, shop, eat, play, and support local businesses, rather than building a closed-off campus,” said Schoettler.
After the ribbon cutting event, guests toured the building.
To adapt the building from a department store to a modern office, an eleven-story staircase was carved out into the middle of each floor, helping to promote connectivity across teams. It is topped by a glowing skylight called ‘the lantern,’ which brings light from the roof all the way through the building.
In addition to providing new, collaborative workspaces for teams based here, the first floor of the building has been dedicated to community use and public retail. In a brand-new partnership announced as part of the ribbon cutting event, Amazon and the City University of New York (CUNY) shared that 1,500 square feet of space would be dedicated for 25 associated colleges to hold university and graduate-level classes, student demo days, host recruiting and alumni events, and more.
“This is just one of the ways we’re helping our students, many of whom are first-generation students, build pathways to high-profile companies like Amazon,” said Felix Matos Rodriguez, CUNY Chancellor. “They’re hungry for these opportunities, and Amazon is going to show the world what happens when CUNY is in the house.”
In addition to the ground floor community space, new restaurant and food vendors are anticipated to start setting up shop for the neighborhood to enjoy in the coming months. When Amazon invests, our goal is to support vibrant 18-hour districts where people live, work, shop, dine, and play. This investment will not only support Amazon in our mission to further weave ourselves into the fabric of the community, but also bring new options and small businesses to Midtown Manhattan.
“We’re excited about the impact on local businesses in the neighborhood. When we invest, all those small businesses are able to flourish,” said Jennifer Cruickshank, Amazon’s Director of Public Policy.
Throughout the tour, Amazon leaders shared more about Amazon’s commitment to New York. To date, we’ve invested more than $25 billion in New York City and created more than 18,000 full- and part-time jobs. On top of these direct investments, Amazon’s activities have added more than $20 billion to city GDP.
“This landmark building started life as one of New York’s first department stores, its design and construction heralding the arrival of the fashionable Fifth Avenue shopping district that was just then developing north of 34th Street,” said NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Sarah Carroll.
“Thanks to the tremendous care and attention that has gone into this sensitive restoration, the former Lord and Taylor Building at 424 Fifth Avenue is now primed to lead Midtown’s next phase of innovation, proof that New York remains the best place for companies looking to do business, and a dramatic demonstration of the integral role preservation can play in contributing to the continued economic success of our city."
From its prime location to its nods to the original building, Hank is an office that proudly builds on Amazon’s investment in NYC for our employees and the broader community.