Room for Moving Up: Times Square’s Palace Theatre to Receive a Facelift, Other Developments

The trend in urban revitalization through multi-functional spaces continues its spread in New York City, where significant updates to popular venues in Times Square continue to unfold. Where locals continue to agree that a downtown area must leave ample options for living, working, shopping, and playing within a few steps of each other, it is clear that the beloved bowtie of NYC proper is more than happy to take the lead with the ever-advancing TSX Broadway development. 

TSXB promises to be an “experiential” shopping, entertainment, and residential experience, offering 46 floors of modern amenities, prime advertising and retail space, and the protection and preservation of a historic landmark. It includes the area in and around the famous Palace Theatre, which shut its doors in late 2018 to begin a long renovation process. 

What Changes Are Coming to the Palace Theatre?

A venue that has been home to the Vaudeville greats, high-profile film premieres like RKO’s Citizen Kane, and numerous Broadway stage productions, the 1700-seat Palace Theatre closed its 2018 season with the promise to return in the early 2020’s. Its redevelopment is part of a larger project affecting the whole area, but its most surprising change will be its location: 30 feet above its present spot, part of a $2.4 billion project approved by NYC City Council June of last year. Here, there are multiple aims:

  • New Space. The elevation of the theatre will create around 10,000 square feet of retail space for street-level customers. This likely will include the need for multiple separate units for a diverse shopping experience, mechanical space, bathroom facilities, and more.
  • A Landmark, Preserved. Developers L&L Holding Co., Maefield Development, and Fortress Investment Group are dedicated not only to bringing the area into the electrical future, but also meticulously restoring and preserving every detail of this popular location. Workers with expertise in preservation and restoration may have a monumental project on their hands, with everything from facades, statuary, seating, and detailing needing to look their authentic best. 

What Other Changes Are Coming with the Redevelopment? 

Aside from treating a grand old lady like the Palace Theatre like the queen she is, TSX Broadway promises several new additions to Times Square to keep locals and tourists close and comfortable. All of these changes will call for a variety of construction types and trades to complete. 

  • A Memorable Trip. Popular among NYC retailers is the offering of an “experience” rather than a mere shopping trip, and TSX Broadway is embracing this in all its spaces. With other popular stores offering meditation sessions to draw shoppers, or displays to attract Instagram influencers, the entire TSX complex hopes to play off of a similar vibe. Developers are challenged to create a structure that facilitates this that includes edgy, unique modern architecture that can blend seamlessly with the Palace Theatre’s classical charm. 
  • Out with the Old. Among other changes, this requires the demolition of the Doubletree hotel that currently sits atop the Palace Theatre, in itself an enormous project, especially since everything under the Doubletree must remain intact. The removal and further updates to the property will pave the way for the building of new, 669-room luxury hotel with every amenity (an update from Doubletree’s 612-room offering).
  • Outdoor Entertainment. TSX Broadway’s completion will come with the installation of Times Square’s only permanent outdoor stage, adding a new, established venue for year-round entertainment. It will call for a structure fit to hold a sizeable partying crowd and fixtures for state-of-the-art equipment. 
  • The Most Valuable Signage. When it comes to drawing tourists, locals, and influencers of every stripe, for once—it’s all about what’s on the outside. Times Square’s billboards and screens are an integral part of its character, with recent updates from neon to LED and video dominating your view as you look up from the street. TSX Broadway will be no different, refitting its outdoor space with an 18,000 square-foot wrap-around sign with video and streaming capabilities. With video advertising space in Times Square bringing in as much as $12 million a year on much smaller screens and with the TSX project’s signage breaking records for the area, the construction of such a giant will be a massive undertaking in itself. 

With a mixture of modern amenities and the charm of New York’s colorful entertainment history, perfectly preserved, the TSX Broadway development may change the landscape. For now, with opening day still a couple of years away at least, the mountain of jobs it leaves for passionate developers and tradespeople are innumerable.

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