Macy’s is closing its downtown location after selling the landmark building where the now-defunct Kaufmann’s chain ran its flagship store for more than a century, it said Monday.
Core Realty, a Philadelphia-based developer, bought the 13-story Pittsburgh building and is planning a hotel and residential project, Macy’s said. The company is known in Philadelphia for transforming older spaces into office, hotel, restaurant, retail and entertainment space.
A clearance sale will run into early September.
The Fifth Avenue building opened as Kaufmann’s in 1887. Cincinnati, Ohio-based Macy’s acquired Kaufmann’s parent company in 2005.
Core pledged to preserve icons of the store’s retailing history, including the outdoor Kaufmann’s clock, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said.
The current version of the clock was installed at Fifth Avenue and Smithfield Street in 1913 and has been a popular meeting place, with generations of Pittsburgh residents telling each other, “Meet me under Kaufmann’s clock.”
Macy’s said it decided to sell because it was using only one-third of the building’s 1.2 million square feet of space, leaving upper floors idle. Chief stores officer Jeff Kantor said the company started exploring uses for the unused property four years ago.
Macy’s started working with Core Realty last year and recently decided to give up the whole building so the developer’s plans could evolve “into a more holistic project,” Kantor said.
“We believe this will be an outstanding addition to the downtown Pittsburgh community in an important location in the heart of the city,” Kantor said.
Macy’s said laid-off employees will be offered severance packages. Some employees may be offered positions in nearby stores.
About 30 district office employees will move to another Pittsburgh-area Macy’s.