The Bow Tie Building at 1530 Broadway, the former location of the Criterion Center, home of the Laura Pels and Stage Right Theatres and the Roundabout Theatre Company, is about to undergo massive demolition work and reconstruction to accommodate new retail tenants.
Work will begin within a few weeks and sources at Garrick-Aug, the real estate agent hired by Bow Tie owners Charles Moss, say they have serious interest for half the space in the building.
"I can't tell you about the potential uses, it might give it away," said Garrick-Aug's Faith Hope Consolo. "We just took on the assignment. There is a lease for the 45th Street corner and I just returned from a trip to Europe where I met with various retailers."
Though the "Bow Tie Building" has been the home of the Roundabout and the Criterion Center, no future theatre usage is planned for the site at this time. The theatres in the building ceased presenting legitimate productions almost two years ago, Consolo said.
Soon to be gone from the building are the United Artist theatre complex and various retail shops targeting tourist trade. Garrick-Aug came in a few weeks ago to develop the remaining 108,000 square feet of retail space available between 44th Street and 45th Street. The existing lease for the 45th Street corner of the Bow Tie Building involves 21,000 square feet. Consolo told Playbill On-Line that her prospective tenants will be developing the remainder of the building's basement, ground floor and second floor. "It's virtually column-free space," Consolo emphasized.
Consolo, a veteran of several Times Square redevelopment campaigns, said that the scope of the Bow Tie Building project encompasses a total of 135,000 square feet of space.
"You can look to have something distinctly different from everything else in Times Square," Consolo said. "We already have interest from two retailers in Paris and one in London."
Having identified land uses for Times Square properties in the past, Consolo has an insider's understanding of the real estate potential for the building's 200 feet of frontage on Broadway.
"You won't see the typical restaurant or entertainment tenant," Consolo predicts, "but you will see unique retailers. They didn't hire me and send me to Europe to bring in the guy from across the street."
Demolition work begins in the next few weeks at 1530 Broadway and Consolo estimated that within as little as four weeks later the clean up work should be completed and the new platforms for the new tenants can be established.
Consolo said that there is also an open billboard atop the Bow Tie Building, measuring 40 by 20 feet. It is for rent, for an annual fee of $4 million.
Garrick-Aug managing director Joseph A. Aquino explained the two-year old decision of the Moss family to opt for billboard usage over the low rise building rather than to develop a high-rise tower headquarters for Random House.
"The demonstrated value of the billboard space ($50 million in annual revenue) further confirms the enormous potential of this site for retailers," Aquino said in a statement. "The eyes of the world are on this block front."
-- By Murdoch McBride