A proposal by Hudson Bay Co. and its Streetworks Development arm includes nearly 340,000 square feet of office and retail space and more than 200 apartments and townhomes, which it would develop at the site of a vacant Lord & Taylor building in downtown Westfield and the surrounding blocks. — Renderings courtesy: HBC
By Joshua Burd
Hudson’s Bay Co. has unveiled a plan to transform the site of a vacant Lord & Taylor building in downtown Westfield and several adjacent blocks, with a proposal that includes nearly 340,000 square feet of office and retail space and more than 200 residential units.
The company, through its Streetworks Development arm, is working with town officials to advance what would be 731,000 square feet of total development spanning both the department store property and several town-owned parcels nearby. That includes 100,000 square feet of high-end, flexible office space through the adaptive reuse of the former Lord & Taylor building on North Avenue, along with a new ground-up, mass timber building with 210,000 square feet of office space and amenities.
The residential component includes 154 apartments and townhomes for residents of age 55 and older, plus 69 rentals catering to families and young professionals, the news release said. HBC’s plan also calls for 27,000 square feet of street-level retail distributed across the development, new park space and new parking garages for public use on North Avenue and South Avenue that can accommodate more than 450 vehicles.
“HBC has more than 350 years of experience in reinvention and revitalization,” said Richard Baker, HBC’s governor, executive chairman and CEO. “As the long-term holder of many iconic retail brands, including Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks OFF 5TH, we understand the responsibility we hold to repurpose and bring life to the former Lord & Taylor site in Westfield.
“One Westfield Place, will be welcoming, distinct and authentic, with increased walkability, pedestrian access to open spaces, tree-lined sidewalks, picturesque main streets and buildings expertly designed to complement the unique charm and character of the town. The revitalization of downtown Westfield will serve as a model of suburban downtowns for years to come.”
The company said it envisions a sequenced, mixed-use development known that would repurpose underutilized buildings and properties, optimize parking and improve pedestrian connectivity between residential neighborhoods and downtown. Its plan would also help the municipality satisfy its state-mandated affordable housing obligations.
Additionally, Streetworks would look to update the landscaping of the Town Green and Town Square to the north and south of the train station, while enhancing community programming and improving pedestrian and vehicular access. The firm is teaming with the Downtown Westfield Corporation and Dan Biederman of Biederman Redevelopment Ventures, the firm behind New York’s Bryant Park, to develop a comprehensive plan to those ends.
“Driven by our master plan, and with a commitment to maintaining Westfield’s historical character, HBC | Streetworks Development is proposing a downtown for the future — one that is more people-centric than car-centric — with a focus on sustainability, safe streets and improved infrastructure,” Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle said. “This innovative proposal presents us with a unique opportunity to address our longstanding traffic, parking and congestion challenges, provide much-needed spaces for community gathering, art and events and bring in unprecedented new sources of tax revenue to the town that will mitigate the tax burden of our residents for generations to come.”
HBC also detailed a plan to improve access to the Westfield train station, namely to alternative modes of transportation, by connecting the north and south sides of the property. Features would include ride sharing, bike stations, storage and pickup and drop-off service locations.
The project as envisioned would generate several million dollars per year to the municipality for a total of more than $200 million in additional revenues over 30 years, the news release said. It would also create more than 2,900 jobs during construction, as well as 1,700 jobs when operational.
“With more than 40 years of experience in world-class suburban development and placemaking, Streetworks Development prides itself on creating authentic gathering places that bring lasting economic and social value to its communities,” said Carolina Simon, vice president of development for HBC Streetworks Development. “For three years, we have been active in the community of Westfield, familiarizing ourselves with its unique attributes and hearing directly from community stakeholders and residents about the improvements they feel would most benefit the Town. We will continue to work closely with the town of Westfield and residents to ensure this development supports a healthy, vibrant downtown that strengthens the economy, is safe and walkable, and addresses resident traffic, parking and congestion concerns.”
HBC is opening a preview center at 76 Elm St. to help educate residents about the scale and scope of One Westfield Place and listen to community feedback, the news release said. The company noted that its plans are subject to approval by the Westfield Town Council, a process that will take place in the coming months following the completion of public input.