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One Times Square

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

One Times Square
Times Square (4662956690).jpg
General information
Location1 Times Square
New York, NY 10036
Coordinates40°45′23″N 73°59′11″W / 40.756421°N 73.9864883°W / 40.756421; -73.9864883
Construction started1903
Completed1904
OwnerJamestown L.P. and Sherwood Equities
Height
Antenna spire417 ft (127 m)
Roof363 ft (111 m)
Technical details
Floor count25
Floor area110,599 sq ft (10,275.0 m2)
Design and construction
ArchitectCyrus L.W. Eidlitz, Andrew C. McKenzie (presently HLW International)
DeveloperThe New York Times
References
[1][2][3]

One Times Square, also known as 1475 Broadway, the New York Times Building, the New York Times Tower, or simply as the Times Tower, is a 25-story, 363-foot-high (111 m) skyscraper, designed by Cyrus L. W. Eidlitz, located at 42nd Street and Broadway in New York City. Due to the large amount of revenue generated by its signage, One Times Square is considered one of the most valuable advertising locations in the world.

The tower was originally built in 1903–1904[4] to serve as the headquarters of The New York Times, which moved into the tower in January 1904. The paper's owner persuaded the city to re-name the area "Times Square". Eight years later, the paper's offices moved to 229 West 43rd Street. One Times Square remained a major focal point of the area due to its annual New Year's Eve "ball drop" festivities and the introduction of a large lighted news ticker near street-level in 1928. Following its sale to Lehman Brothers in 1995, One Times Square was repurposed with advertising billboards on its facade to take advantage of its prime location within the square. One Times Square has been owned by Jamestown L.P. since 1997.

Most of the building's interior remains vacant, aside from a Walgreens pharmacy which occupies its lower levels. In 2017, as part of One Times Square's redevelopment, plans were announced to construct a new Times Square museum, observation deck, and a new entrance to the Times Square–42nd Street subway station, construction of which began in 2019.

Site

One Times Square is at the southern end of Times Square in the Midtown Manhattan neighborhood of New York City. It takes up the city block bounded by Seventh Avenue to the west, 42nd Street to the south, Broadway to the east, and 43rd Street to the north.[5][6] The land lot is trapezoidal and covers 5,400 sq ft (500 m2), with a frontage of 143 ft (44 m) on Broadway and a depth of 58.33 feet (17.78 m).[5] Nearby buildings include 1501 Broadway to the north, 1500 Broadway to the northeast, 4 Times Square to the east, The Knickerbocker Hotel to the southeast, the Times Square Tower to the south, 5 Times Square to the southwest, and 3 Times Square to the west.[5][6]

History

Times ownership

Headquarters

One Times Square, on the site of the Pabst Hotel, was completed in 1904 to serve as the headquarters of The New York Times, which officially moved into the building in January 1905.[7][8][9] The newspaper's owner, Adolph Ochs, also successfully persuaded the city to rename the surrounding area (then known as Longacre Square) after the newspaper, becoming Times Square.[10][8][11] When opened, the building contained intricate decorative elements, including a facade of stone and terracotta.[12] The structure contained an arcade that connected to the New York City Subway's Times Square station.[13] The Times Building was be long and narrow, due to the convergence of Broadway and Seventh Avenue at Times Square, so an extensive system of wind bracing was used.[14]

To help promote the new headquarters, the Times held a New Year's Eve event on December 31, 1904, welcoming the year of 1905 with a fireworks display set off from the roof of the building at midnight.[9][11][15] The event was a success, attracting 200,000 spectators, and was continued annually until 1907.[11][15] For 1908, Ochs replaced the display with what he thought would be a more spectacular event—the lowering of a lit ball down the building's flagpole at midnight, patterned off the use of time balls to indicate a certain time of day. The "ball drop" is still held on One Times Square to this day, attracting an average of one million spectators yearly.[15][10][16]

Relocation

Under construction in 1903
Under construction in 1903

In 1913, only eight years after it moved to One Times Square, the Times moved its corporate headquarters to 229 West 43rd Street,[10][16] where it would remain until 2007.[17] After leaving One Times Square, the Times retained ownership of the tower.[18][19][20]

On November 6, 1928, an electromechanical Motograph News Bulletin [fr] news ticker, colloquially known as the "zipper", was introduced near the base of the building. The zipper originally consisted of 14,800 light bulbs, with the display controlled by a chain conveyor system inside the building; individual letter elements (a form of movable type) were loaded into frames to spell out news headlines. As the frames moved along the conveyor, the letters themselves triggered electrical contacts which lit the external bulbs (the zipper has since been upgraded to use modern LED technology).[7][21][19] The first headline displayed on the zipper announced Herbert Hoover's victory in that day's presidential election. The zipper was used to display other major news headlines of the era, and its content later expanded to include sports and weather updates as well.[21][19] On the evening of August 14, 1945, the zipper was famously used to announce Japan's surrender from World War II to a packed crowd in Times Square.[22]

Sale and later use

Late 20th century

1910
1919
1977
2017

The Times sold the building to advertising executive and sign designer Douglas Leigh in 1961.[23][16][24] Leigh then sold the building to Allied Chemical in 1963.[23][16][24] Allied Chemical greatly modified the building's facade in a $10 million renovation, replacing intricate granite and terracotta elements with marble facing.[25] In 1974, the building was sold to investor Alex Parker for $6.25 million, and then to the Swiss-based investment group Kemekod. Kemekod later sold the tower to an investment group led by Lawrence I. Linksman in 1982. Linksman promised further renovations to the building, including the possibility of using its north face for signage displays.[23][26][24] In 1992, the owners of One Times Square filed for bankruptcy protection.[22]

Following the sale of the building by the Times, the zipper was operated on an inconsistent basis by various news outlets; it was shut off entirely between 1961 and 1965, then again from 1977 to 1986. In 1986, the ticker was revived by Newsday, which operated it until December 31, 1994. The newspaper declined to renew its lease on the ticker, believing that they "[didn't] get very much out of that sign" financially.[26][22][27] Publishing company Pearson PLC operated the zipper afterward, ceding its role to Dow Jones & Company in June 1995.[28][29]

In March 1995, One Times Square was sold to the financial services firm Lehman Brothers for $27.5 million. The new owners felt that it would not be cost-effective to house new tenants in the tower due to the cost of the extensive renovation required in order to make it suitable for tenants as compared to the relatively small rental revenue that its limited floor space would have brought in. Instead, they decided to market the tower as a location for advertising to capitalize on its prominent location within the Square. The entire exterior of One Times Square above the ticker was modified to add a grid frame for mounting billboard signs.[30][31][32]

From 1990 to 1996, Sony operated a Jumbotron on the exterior of the tower. Alongside its use for advertising and news, it was also frequently used by the producers of the late-night talk show Late Show with David Letterman, who could display a live feed from its studio on the screen as well. As a cost-saving measure, Sony declined to renew its lease of the space, leading to the subsequent removal of the Jumbotron in June 1996. Due to its frequent use by Late Show, its producer Rob Burnett jokingly considered the removal of the Jumbotron to be "a sad, sad day for New York."[33] Also in 1996, Warner Bros. agreed to lease the building and operate a retail store at the base.[34][35][36] The complex was planned with a four-story restaurant on the roof.[34] Lehman Brothers sold One Times Square in 1997 to Jamestown L.P. for about $110 million.[37][38] The Warner Bros. store opened in April 1998.[39]

21st century

Time Warner announced in mid-2001 that it would close the Warner Bros. store that October.[40][41] Time Warner continued to pay the rent for the store space, even though no retail tenants occupied the building for several years afterward.[42] In early 2006, the floors were occupied by a J. C. Penney pop-up store known as The J C. Penney Experience.[43] In November 2008, pharmacy chain Walgreens opened a new flagship store in the space, renting it in a lease valued at $4 million yearly. Walgreens also introduced a new digital sign to the building as part of its grand opening: designed by Gilmore Group and constructed by D3 LED, the 17,000-square-foot (1,600 m2) sign runs diagonally up both sides of the building and contains 12 million LEDs, surpassing the nearby NASDAQ sign as the largest LED sign in Times Square.[11][44] The former electrical room in the tower's basement currently serves as a "vault" for the storage of items relating to New Year's Eve celebrations at Times Square, including the ball itself (prior to 2009), spare parts, numeral signage and other memorabilia.[45]

In September 2017, the building's owners unveiled plans to use much of its vacant space. Under the proposal, a museum dedicated to the history of Times Square would be built on the 15th through 17th floors, and the 18th floor would contain a new observatory. The ground level would also be renovated to provide an expanded entrance to the New York City Subway's Times Square–42nd Street station, which is directly underneath the building. Work was originally supposed to be completed in 2018.[46] However, the MTA did not start construction on the 42nd Street Shuttle reconstruction project until August 2019.[47][48][49] As part of the redevelopment of One Times Square, a new 20-foot-wide (6.1 m) staircase entrance with a glass canopy, as well as a new elevator entrance, will be built. A new elevator to the building's observation deck will be installed and maintained by Jamestown Developers.[50] In 2019, the individual billboard screens on the front of the tower were replaced by one 350-foot-tall (110 m) Samsung LED display, with a resolution of 1312×7380 pixels.[51][52]

Billboards

Billboards on One Times Square, 2018
Billboards on One Times Square, 2018

One Times Square's first electronic billboards were installed in 1996, such as a Cup Noodles billboard with steam effects was added to the front of the tower, later accompanied by an animated Budweiser sign. In October, a 55-foot video screen sponsored by ITT Corporation was introduced to the top of the tower, which would feature video advertisements and community service announcements.[53][54] In December 1996, a Panasonic display operated by NBC known as Astrovision was introduced as a replacement for Sony's Jumbotron at the base of the tower.[32][55][11]

Filings related to the building's 1997 sale revealed that the billboards on the tower had been generating a net revenue of $7 million yearly,[37] representing a 300% profit.[56] With growing tourism and high traffic in the Times Square area (with a yearly average of over 100 million pedestrians—alongside its prominence in media coverage of New Year's festivities, seen by a wide audience yearly), annual revenue from the signs grew to over $23 million by the year 2012—rivaling London's Piccadilly Circus as the most valuable public advertising space in the world.[57][58]

Advertisers

From 1996 to 2006, Nissin Foods operated a Cup Noodles billboard with smoke effects (an effect that had also been famously used by other Times Square billboards, such as the Camel Cigarettes sign).[53] The Cup Noodles billboard was replaced in 2006 by a General Motors billboard featuring a Chevrolet branded clock; however, as a part of cutbacks resulting from GM's bankruptcy and re-organization, the Chevrolet Clock was removed in 2009 and eventually replaced by a Kia Motors advertisement billboard, then in 2010 a Dunkin' Donuts display.[59]

On August 19, 1998, Discover Card replaced ITT Corporation as the operator and sponsor of the top-most screen on One Times Square as part of a ten-year deal. The deal came alongside the announcement that Discover Card would be an official sponsor of Times Square's New Year's Eve 2000 festivities.[60]

The redesigned roof of One Times Square as seen on December 30, 2012, now featuring the New Year's ball as a permanent addition.
The redesigned roof of One Times Square as seen on December 30, 2012, now featuring the New Year's ball as a permanent addition.

In 2006, News Corporation (renamed 21st Century Fox in 2013) replaced NBC as the operator and sponsor of the Astrovision screen.[61] In 2010, Sony returned to One Times Square by replacing the News Corp. Panasonic screen with a new high-definition LED display.[62]

In December 2007, Toshiba took over sponsorship of the top-most screen of One Times Square from Discover Card in a 10-year lease.[63] Throughout 2008, upgrades began to be made to the upper portion of One Times Square; including the installation of new Toshiba high-definition LED displays (known as ToshibaVision), and the redesign of its roof to accommodate a larger New Year's Eve ball, which became a year-round fixture of the building beginning in 2009.[45][64] On November 23, 2017, Toshiba announced that it would end its One Times Square sponsorship in early 2018, citing ongoing cost-cutting measures.[65][66][67]

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