The former Takashimaya department store at 693 Fifth Avenue is in for a makeover, revealed in a video posted by Thor Equities, which will be renovating the building; the film was created by Neoscape. The original structure was built in 1993, and per Crain’s, has 44,500 square feet of space on the first six floors.
Thor’s video outlines several exterior options for the project, which has one of the best locations of any retail development in the world. Per the graphics, 200,000 pedestrians traverse the sidewalks in front of 693 Fifth Avenue every day. Takashimaya vacated the space in 2010 after declaring bankruptcy, and the building traded to Thor for $140 million.
If the video is accurate, much of the existing structure’s facade will be removed; it seems that older retail buildings are particularly vulnerable to modernization, as enormous glass windows and space for LED-signage is key to visibility, especially on well-trafficked thoroughfares.
Unfortunately, windows and signs leave little room for detailing, and the result is cookie-cutter architecture. Further south, Thor is planning another major retail development, at 520 Fifth Avenue; the end-result at both locations will be apparently be quite similar.
Completion of the changes at 693 Fifth Avenue hinges on Thor finding a retail tenant, and the space currently remains vacant; once an occupant is secured, the building’s transformation can begin.
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