Macy’s Iconic NYC Store Gets Controversial $400M Makeover

Preservationists claim the changes will ruin its Art Deco features

By Christopher Freeburn, InvestorPlace Writer

Macy’s (NYSE:M) is giving its famed Manhattan flagship store a pricey face-lift, hoping to revitalize its image with modern look.

After the changes are completed in 2015, the store will have 1.2 million square feet of retail space, 100,000 more square feet than it does presently, the Associated Press notes.

This Holiday Season, Go Shopping for Retail
This Holiday Season, Go Shopping for Retail

The Manhattan store, which covers almost an entire city block at 34th Street,  attracts 20 million visitors every year. Built in 1902 and expanded in 1930, the building combines the Beaux Arts style of the early years of the 20th century, with Art Deco details from the 1920’s and 1930’s.

However, the $400 million renovation has drawn fire from architectural preservationists who say the changes are scrapping the buildings historic Art Deco interiors. Soaring floor-to-ceiling marble columns, for instance, will be stripped of their marble and decorations.

While long considered a New York City landmark, the building has never received an official landmark designation from the city. That means Macy’s can alter the store’s appearance without city approval.

Some critics said Macy’s was trying to copy Apple‘s (NASDAQ:AAPL) minimalist store designs.

Last month, Macy’s reported second-quarter earnings that topped Wall Street estimates and raised its outlook for the year.

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