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The ‘Million Dollar Corner’ and the combat between Macy’s and Amazon

It’s probably the most contentious nook in New York.

On thirty fourth Street and Broadway, the proper symmetry of Macy’s Herald Square is damaged up by a small constructing, presently occupied by a Sunglass Hut.

This minuscule slice of Manhattan, generally known as the “Million Dollar Corner,” has been a thorn in Macy’s aspect for 120 years. It was the middle of a retail struggle at first of final century, and threatens to be a fair greater downside right this moment.

The combat began in 1900, when Macy’s deliberate to maneuver its flagship retailer from West 14th Street to thirty fourth. The Siegel-Cooper Company, which owned the then-world’s largest retailer on 18th Street, operated close to the unique Macy’s within the Ladies’ Mile Shopping District. When Macy’s exited its 14th Street location, founder Henry Siegel sought to take over the lease on the constructing to seize prospects unaware of Macy’s transfer. When he was rejected, he put a crafty plan into play.

Robert “Pop” Smith, the proprietor of a close-by “cloak and suit firm” was additionally involved that Macy’s transfer would draw prospects away from the downtown procuring district. Acting on behalf of Siegel, Smith met the proprietor of the small thirty fourth Street constructing within the nook of Macy’s deliberate lot and supplied him $375,000 — the tough equal of $12 million right this moment. Macy’s had solely bid $250,000. Seigel hoped to make use of the constructing as wedge to attain the lease on the 14th Street constructing, however Macy’s wouldn’t negotiate.

Billboard sinage advertising Macy's on corner of Broadway and W 34st in Herald Square.
Billboard signage promoting Macy’s on nook of Broadway and West thirty fourth Street in Herald Square.
Robert Miller

“Macy’s built around them to spite the corner store,” stated architectural historian Andrew Alpern, 82, creator of “Holdouts!: The Buildings That Got in the Way.” “They cut into their own building.”

In 1911, Smith bought the shop — however to not Macy’s — for $1 million, a document for metropolis actual property on the time, which earned the 31 toes of Broadway frontage its nickname.

For many years, Macy’s turned lemons into lemonade, shopping for promoting that turned the small holdout into a large 2,200 sq. foot procuring bag, which proclaims Macy’s as “The World’s Largest Store.” But they by no means purchased the constructing itself, which is owned by Kaufman Realty. Now, Amazon, the web retail big, has reportedly outbid Macy’s for the promoting house — and plans to place up signage that can upstage Macy’s throughout its personal Thanksgiving Day Parade. Last week, Macy’s filed a criticism in State Supreme courtroom in Manhattan to cease their No. 1 competitor.

The Sunglass Hut and Burger King in the are located below the Macy's billboard.
The Sunglass Hut and Burger King within the space situated beneath the Macy’s billboard.
Robert Miller

“Since the early 1960s Macy’s has placed a billboard sign on the building adjacent to our flagship store,” Orlando Veras, a spokesperson for Macy’s, stated in a press release. “Macy’s continues to have rights relating to advertisements at that location.”

That’s as much as the courts. But Alpern says Macy’s executives should be kicking themselves that they didn’t purchase the Million Dollar Corner years in the past.

“It’s a funny irony that a building with this kind of history would come back and be a problem more than a century later,” he stated. “Macy’s has not had a good record with holdouts. They just don’t seem to be too good at negotiating with their neighbors.”