The big, dated slab of chrome and smoked glass at the corner of 34th Street and Seventh Avenue known as Herald Center is getting a long overdue renovation. WWD reports that plans are in the works to finally bring it up to date with its bustling surroundings. The luxury stores like Dunhill and Charles Jourdan that filled the mall when it was originally built in the early 1980s didn't hang around for long. After current owner JEMB Real Estate took control in 1989 from the Philippine's then president Ferdinand Marcos and his infamous wife Imelda, big box and discount stores including a 97,000 square foot Daffy's took root until that chain's demise last year. Meanwhile, upper floor space was leased by that glamorous, sought after tenant, The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. As the 34th Street corridor became an increasingly important destination for chain store flagships like Gap, Victoria's Secret and Forever 21, and fast-fashion newcomers like H&M and Zara, Herald Center remained stagnant, seedy and a little bit forbidding on what should have been one of the strip's most desirable locations. Manhattan Mall in the former Gimbel's building lured away more popular tenants, and even today Herald Center still lacks even the most minimal online presence.
But now, as Macy's across the street continues with a sleek and shiny makeover of its own, Herald Center is being reconfigured to create three floors of contiguous retail space and will have its exterior reclad to create a new, brighter look inside and out. When it will all be finished remains to be indicated, but the redesign is meant to attract more upscale fashion retailers as opposed the off-pricers that defined the mall for the past few decades. Unsurprisingly, Topshop is said to be at the top of the list of non-discounters that JEMB is hoping to sign, along with any other full-priced stores that have yet to find a home in the area.