A former Saks men's store in Manhattan was converted to...

A former Saks men's store in Manhattan was converted to a SaksWorks coworking space.  Credit: SaksWorks

At least one of the former Lord & Taylor stores on Long Island is slated to become a high-end co-working space.

All 38 Lord & Taylor stores, including the four on Long Island, closed after the department store chain and its parent company, Le Tote Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August 2020.

Now, the retailer’s former parent company, Hudson’s Bay Co., is partnering with co-working company WeWork to turn some former Lord & Taylor stores, including the one in Manhasset, into SaksWorks, a membership-based co-working space with offices and other components. Hudson’s Bay owns Saks Fifth Avenue, some of whose vacant spaces are also being converted to SaksWorks.

"SaksWorks is an innovative membership club for work, life and wellness, delivering stylish work and meeting spaces, artisanal cafes with fresh food and beverages, fitness studios and programming, along with event spaces for weddings and more," Hudson’s Bay said.

The Manhasset location is among the first five SaksWorks, which are launching in the tri-state area. Two opened this past summer – one is on the 10th floor of the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store in Midtown Manhattan and the other is in the former Saks men’s store in the Brookfield Place shopping center in Manhattan.

Part of the SaksWorks coworking space on the 10th floor...

Part of the SaksWorks coworking space on the 10th floor of the flagship Saks Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan. Credit: SaksWorks

SaksWorks sites are also planned for Westchester County and Greenwich, Conn.

SaksWorks’ costs for an individual are $49 for a day pass, $299 for a monthly membership and $2,999 for an annual membership. For a company membership, called enterprise, the agreements are tailored and confidential, Hudson’s Bay spokeswoman Trenesa S. Danuser said.

WeWork is an operations partner that is responsible for back-end technical support, organizing, reservations, staffing and membership sales, said a spokeswoman for WeWork, which is based in Manhattan.

Building plans submitted to the town of North Hempstead show SaksWorks occupying the entire three-story, approximately 122,000-square-foot building at 1440 Northern Blvd. in Manhasset.

But a Hudson’s Bay spokesman said Thursday that SaksWorks will occupy only a portion of the building, while the company will "continue to explore and assess potential tenants to activate the remainder of the building."

Windows will be added to the facade of the former Lord...

Windows will be added to the facade of the former Lord & Taylor store in Manhasset. Credit: Danielle Silverman

The space is expected to open in the first quarter of 2022, Danuser said.

RMB Drafting Services Inc./RMB Development Consultants Inc., based in East Meadow, received a building permit from the town of North Hempstead in August for work that includes adding windows to the façade of the Manhasset building, said Gordon Tepper, spokesman for the town.

San Francisco-based Le Tote bought Lord & Taylor’s brand and related intellectual property from Toronto-based Hudson’s Bay for $75 million in 2019. But Hudson’s Bay retained most of the Lord & Taylor real estate.

Now Hudson’s Bay is leveraging the real estate in innovative ways, Danuser said. "We feel that this co-working elevated experience is an alignment with how we’re working today," she said.

The COVID-19 pandemic will increase demand for such spaces, predicted Philip M. Heilpern, a senior vice president in real estate firm CBRE’s Melville office who is helping to market the former Lord & Taylor spaces. "We need to continue to get over a pandemic hump, if you will, where people are more comfortable going out," he said.

But demand for office space has shrunk as more people work from home, and landlords are tripping over themselves to offer incentives to sign leases, said Brett Theodos, a senior fellow who studies local economies for the Urban Institute, a think tank in Washington, D.C. "The pandemic has convinced many of us that we don’t need to be in the office every day," he said.

Long Island’s office vacancy rate was 13.1% in the third quarter of 2021, compared to 12% in the same period last year, according to real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield. Some co-working spaces locally and nationally have closed, too.

But "segmenters," a term for workers who want to keep their work and personal lives as separate as possible, may provide a market for options like SaksWorks, said Bradford S. Bell, director of Cornell University’s Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.

"Some prefer to have this clear division between work and home, and so for those people, I think they’re the ones who will be more attracted to the idea of going to a co-working space," he said.

In February 2020, 20.2% of employed New York state residents worked from home some days and 6% worked entirely from home, according to Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas estimates. By June 2021, the most recent data available, 24.3% of employed New York residents worked from home some days, while 21.2% worked entirely from home.

Besides the Lord & Taylor in Manhasset, the retailer’s other three former Long Island stores included two at shopping malls – at Westfield South Shore in Bay Shore and Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station. There also was a freestanding store at 1200 Franklin Ave. in Garden City.

With regard to whether those three properties will become SaksWorks, "we are still exploring our options regarding those sites," Danuser said.

Hudson’s Bay plans to convert the Garden City property to a multi-tenant class A office building, Heilpern said.

The village of Garden City did not respond to Newsday’s inquiries about the Garden City property.

Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc., which owns Walt Whitman Shops, and Paris-based Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, which owns Westfield South Shore, did not respond to Newsday's inquiries about the former Lord & Taylor stores in the malls.

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