New York City, NY

Why Macy's Spending $235 Million to Improve Herald Square is Good for NYC

Genius Turner
Macy's, in Harold Square, is one of the world's most famous department store locations.(Nakashi/Flickr)

Macy's Plans to Upgrade Not Only Its Flagship Store But Herald Square Too

New York City — On a website for tourists, listed among the star attractions — such as the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building — is none other than what the homepage calls "an icon: Macy's NYC."

Indeed, this icon is known as "the World's Largest Store" for a reason. After all, in the most densely populated area in the country, Macy's covers an entire city block. No wonder it's been the focal point of many a movie.

Even the classic film Elf saw its director, Jon Favreau, approach Macy's asking to use their iconic store, given how synonymous it is with Christmas and all. But Macy's declined. According to Favreau, "Macy's didn't like the idea that there was a fake Santa working there. They felt it would blow the illusion for kids."

Sometimes the price of money costs too much! Besides, when you're among the most famous store locations in history, you've earned the right to turn down offers. Even from Hollywood.

Macy's, however, is in no mood to reminisce over past triumphs. And just like Santa — Macy's comes bearing gifts.

According to a report, Macy's plans on investing "$235 million in the surrounding neighborhood — including new subway entrances and more pedestrian space." If good news has a ring to it, Macy's just rang a bell for New Yorkers.
Perhaps Macy's is staying true to Barron's maxim that “everything can be improved.”(Dog97209/Flickr)

If by chance you've ever entered the subway station at Herald Square, ahem, you're fully aware of how long it's been screaming for a makeover. And with this almost quarter-of-a-billion-dollar investment, which not only goes into building a sparkling new 900-foot-tall skyscraper atop the iconic store but also into renovating the surrounding area, no wonder a news anchor blurted — "Wow! Now that's how you bust a recession!"

Herald Square and Broadway Plaza are set to be transformed "into a modern, car-free pedestrian-friendly urban space for New Yorkers." The upgrades will include connections and public transportation.

Admittedly, upon first hearing Macy's lived up to its reputation for championing the holiday spirit, I considered the gesture noble. After all, so far as Santa Claus is a saint (Nick), and Macy's has a reputation for protecting his legacy, the move initially sounded "charitable."

Ah, but according to the NY Post — don't go calling Macy's "Kris Kringle" just yet.

The $235 million plan reflects Macy's wanting to ease the projected skyscraper "through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, the city’s often contentious approval process. The tower needs City Hall’s green light for a zoning change for its size and height — 1.5 million square feet of office space and between 750 and 900 feet tall, according to plans shown earlier." —NY Post

Despite the above reasons for the long-overdue upgrade to the area, the fact that renovation is in the works is good news. Besides, everybody loves a win-win situation.

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