Today, the City’s TIF Commission was scheduled to review several projects and set public hearings for them.
One of them, proposed by Rick Yackey and Bill and Brian Bruce, is the Railway Exchange Building (more commonly known as the Macy’s Building). Yackey and the Bruces will purchase the building, and reconfigure the Macy’s store to occupy the first three floors of the building with approximately 125,000 sq. ft. of retail floor area. Two floors of Macy’s office space on the upper floors will also be preserved. The team, which has resources and a record of local accomplishment, plans to lease the remainder of the building for office and other non-residential uses over time.
This is not a done deal — or a quick fix. The TIF process is only part of the developers’ due diligence. In the best case, the developers will not close on the purchase until early next year. And it may take a while for the building to be fully reoccupied.
I am, however, very pleased that the developers will be working with Macy’s to do the store reconfiguration. Barbara Geisman and the City’s development agencies have been discussing reconfiguring and re-merchandising the store with Macy’s for nearly a year, but it wasn’t possible to move on this with the building’s ownership uncertain. Now that the sale is moving forward, Barbara and the development agencies can work closely with the anticipated new owners and Macy’s to “right-size” the downtown Macy’s store and make it exciting and attractive. My own wish? I want that store to be a busy presence on its block year-round, and to sell things that 90,000 downtown workers and more than 10,000 downtown residents want to buy.