The New Year’s Eve ball-drop tower, which is frequented by thousands of wide-eyed Times Square holiday revelers, will soon be there to entertain even visitors inside.
Owner Jamestown is planning a half-billion-dollar transformation of One Times Square, the long vacant building where Broadway and Seventh Avenue cross West 42nd Street. The 118-year-old tower now serves as the site for LED advertising signs and the world-famous ball-drop.
The 26-story structure will have a facelift by 2024, including a new facade and new windows. An indoor, 12-floor visitor center houses the Times Square Museum, interactive and virtual-reality experiences, and an outdoor viewing deck overlooking the “Crossroads of the Worlds.”
A new public plaza on the east side of the tower will replace a formidable construction site. A newly opened metro entrance is part of the project.
The famous, north-facing LED signs that illuminate the entire “Bowty” from North to West 47th Street will remain in place and will also function ball-drop during the rebuild.
“Advertisers will be able to continue to broadcast their message to the Times Square crowd during the construction period,” said Jamestown President Michael Phillips.
LED billboards show Jamestown $23 million in annual rent, or 85 percent of the tower’s total rental income. (The rest is from a ground-floor Walgreens store).
Despite its iconic status, most of One Times Square – the original home of the New York Times – has long been prying eyes due to a rotten, marble-covered façade and a loft around its south end.
Jamestown purchased the property in 1997. Various plans to bring in offices and restaurants fell through before and after the Jamestown purchase.
Tom Harris, president of the Times Square Alliance, said, “We celebrate with Jamestown as they redevelop this historic building that will inspire and engage the millions of people who visit Times Square.”