Old New York: 144 West 34th Street
A modest building at 144 West 34th Street in Herald Square is constructed around the same time that R. H. Macy and Company Store, now Macy’s Herald Square, opens.
A group of owners, listed in public documents as Maida Backus, Angela Haigh, Helen Kresser, Charles Libbey, Ernestine Locke and Donna O’Connor, sell the property to a corporate entity listed as 144 West 34th Street Corp.
In May 1980, 144 West 34th Street Corp. sells the property to a new owner, listed in public records as Plaza 34th Realty Associates. New York-based Ensign Bank, later to become part of Anchor Savings Bank, provides a $3.7 million mortgage to the building’s new owner in May 1986.
The Kefadilis family’s KLM Construction Corporation acquires the building for an undisclosed price in February 1997. Atlantic Bank of New York lends $10 million on the property in November 1998, city records show. The 78,000-square-foot building undergoes a substantial makeover.
The GAP, Inc.-owned clothing and accessories retailer Old Navy signs a 20-year lease at the three- story building to house its flagship New York store in 2000. Herald Square’s retail market continues to gain momentum over the next 13 years, with more name-brand stores signing in nearby buildings. In August 2013, the Swedish clothing chain H&M grabs headlines after signing a 25-year lease for its largest store in the world at 1293 Broadway, on the corner of 34th Street.
A partnership between Starwood Capital Group and Crown Acquisitions purchases 144 West 34th Street from KLM for $252 million on April 23, 2014. Morgan Stanley provides a $175 million loan to the new owners to help finance their acquisition, as Mortgage Observer first reports. Morgan Stanley lends $151.8 million in a permanent first mortgage, in addition to a second piece of just under $25 million. Marcos Alvarado, a senior vice president at Starwood Capital, says the building may be redeveloped.