New York’s Iconic One Times Square to Undergo $500M Facelift
NEW YORK — One of New York City’s most iconic locations, One Times Square, scene of the annual New Year’s Eve ball drop watched by millions, is about to undergo a $500 million redevelopment.
Jamestown, a real estate investment and management firm based in Atlanta, Georgia, unveiled its intentions at a midday press conference Friday attended by New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and other dignitaries.
The plan is to modernize the historic, 118-year-old building — once home to The New York Times — into a 21st century visitor center.
“For far too long, we have not really appreciated … what Times Square means to all of us and how this is the center of the universe for America,” Adams said.
Despite its long history as a place thousands have gathered in front of to celebrate New Years, the ends of wars, and great moments in 20th and 21st century history, the building itself at One Times Square has been largely vacant since the 1970s, with revenue generated from outdoor advertising festooned on its outside walls.
Jamestown acquired the building from Lehman Brothers in 1997, and plans to lease at least half of it once the redevelopment is completed in the summer of 2024.
It will also open much of the building’s interior to the public for the first time in decades, and include a new elevated viewing deck and museum experience.
The viewing deck will provide a closer look at the New Year’s Eve ball and an elevated view of Times Square. The museum will tell the story of the building, the New Year’s Eve celebration, and its place in the history of Times Square, the developers said.
The renovated building will also include a next-generation “brand experience” providing the nation’s most iconic brands and businesses with a new venue to connect with their customers in Times Square through what Jamestown calls “immersive, technology-enabled activations.”
The interactive experiences will encompass 12 floors and include digital, virtual and augmented reality integrations, the company said.
“Jamestown, the Times Square Alliance and New York City work hand in hand every year to put on a remarkable New Year’s Eve event with One Times Square home to the famous ball drop at the crossroads of the world,” Nadler said.
“Times Square is iconic for so many reasons, which is why I am especially thrilled that Jamestown is investing in Times Square. This $500 million redevelopment will transform a largely empty and inaccessible property into an alive and welcoming building for all who stop by,” he said.
Michael Phillips, the president of Jamestown, reflected on how Times Square has served as “the crossroads of the world” for more than a century, and said, “One Times Square is at the center of that global stage.”
“The building’s next chapter will build on that legacy, creating a new destination in the heart of Times Square for the next generation,” Phillips said. “With a focus on providing experiences enhanced by technology, the project is representative of the future of real estate and the integration of the physical and virtual worlds. We are reimagining how spaces can be experienced by leveraging the power of [augmented reality] technology and creative storytelling.”
The redevelopment will also include improvements to the Times Square Shuttle station, which, when fully activated, will include a new stair entrance, canopy and an easily accessible elevator in compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.
Construction will allow the north-facing LED signs to continue broadcasting uninterrupted throughout the approximately 27-month construction period.
“Careful thought was planned around keeping the north-facing LED signs lit and the ball up for the entire redevelopment,” Phillips said. “Advertisers will be able to continue to broadcast their messages to the crowds of Times Square throughout the construction period.”
“This is going to be a modernizing of the building, making it more accessible, providing different opportunities for people to enjoy Times Square. And it is really an iconic location where you come to celebrate in the energy, the excitement, the experience,” Adams said.
“COVID is not going to stop us. Crises won’t stop us. We’re not going to be defined by those obstacles we must knock down to show the resiliency of this great city,” he said.
Adams went on to thank Jamestown for its investment, and the Times Square Alliance for facilitating the high-profile project.
“Let’s get it done together,” he said. “A safe, clean, affordable city to attract tourism back to this city, a multi-billion dollar industry. And each time we invest in this area, we are investing in everyday New Yorkers.”