Saturday, July 1, 2023


Jamestown LP /

After looking into the history of the building-cum-billboard located at One Times Square, I made a mental note to check on its current state, now it was certain I would walk past it again. 


What I was not expecting was for a lot of it to not be there, the structure having been stripped back to its metal frame and encased in netting, ahead of its second near-total rebuild, this time in glass and lights, anticipated to reopen in Autumn 2024. The rebuilding work had actually begun in June 2022, and while the New Year’s ball and the largest, north-facing billboard were removed for part of this time, they were both back by my visit in June 2023, remaining the building’s biggest money-spinners.


The plans are impressive, and are intended to make One Times Square the main visitor centre for New York City, according to co-owner Jamestown LP at, their website for the $500 million development. 


The shorter front section of the building, a natural place for an observation deck, will now host one, accessed by glass lifts placed on the outside of the structure, providing views across Times Square, and down to the TKTS booth and bleacher seats placed opposite it since 2008. 


With the building’s small footprint unsuitable for modern office requirements, only one floor is being retained as office space, most likely for the organisers of the New Year’s celebrations to return. Efforts to return the inside of the building to full use after decades of abandonment include six floors will become a museum for Times Square, and of the building itself, while space for a traditional shop remain at ground level, alongside an improved subway entrance.


The most interesting section of the development involves a Web 3.0 reinvention of the exposition spaces previous building owner Allied Chemical once provided, essentially allowing companies to advertise inside the structure as well as outside: “One Times Square will also connect visitors to their favorite brands through immersive, technology-enabled activations across 12 floors, including digital, virtual, and augmented reality experiences. For the first time in decades, the public can experience the home of the New Year's Eve Ball in a more meaningful way.”


While sounding like a version of the original Epcot Centre at Walt Disney World, with corporate-sponsored visions of the future, it will be extremely interesting to see if One Times Square can pull this off, because in reserving physical spaces for experiences while having an official place in the metaverse at Decentraland, a space I have only just found about, it has a head start against the decline in the office market affecting other buildings in New York, cementing its new use before one needs to be found for the others. With the Paramount Theatre in Times Square having been filled in by offices in the 1960s, perhaps it might be time to dig it back out and put on a show?

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