Last Undeveloped Theatre on 42nd Street Gets New Tenant

News   Last Undeveloped Theatre on 42nd Street Gets New Tenant
 
"Very cool" plan reportedly in the works for the Times Square Theatre.
The facade of the Times Square Theatre in the 1920s.
The facade of the Times Square Theatre in the 1920s.

The 1920 vintage Times Square Theatre, the last playhouse still undeveloped on West 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, has been leased by the Singapore-based Oracle Projects International, "producer and designer of technology-driven entertainment and multimedia events" according to a report in The New York Post.

Allison Mui, spokesperson for the non-profit New 42nd Street organization, which acts as landlord for most of the block's theatres told Playbill.com, "We have no comment at this time on the New York Post story."

However, the Post quoted Cushman & Wakefield’s Bradley Mendelson, the leasing agent for New 42nd Street, who said, “We do have a tenant, and what they intend to do will be very cool.” He did not confirm Oracle as the tenant. There were no further specifics.

Times Square Theatre at 215-223 W. 42nd Street, between the American Airlines Theatre and the Lyric Theatre, has stood empty for more than a decade and has been threatened with renovation for a non-theatrical purpose repeatedly during that time. Plans were announced in 2012 to use the theatre to house a Broadway 4D project that would immerse theatregoers in a film experience that celebrates the history of Broadway musicals. But Mui recently told Playbill.com that Broadway 4D had withdrawn as a potential tenant. An earlier plan to gut the theatre and convert it into a merchandise mart also came to nothing.

The Times Square Theatre was one of seven current and former Broadway theatres along New York's West 42nd Street which were removed from a list of sites under consideration for landmark status on February 23, according to a report on the DNAInfo website.

The decision came at a hearing by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Over the years, Landmarking has helped prevent the alteration or demolition of several Broadway theatres, many of which are nearing or have passed their centennials.

However, the LPC decision puts the theatres in no immediate threat. The website quoted LPC spokeswoman Damaris Olivo saying that the theatres were removed from the priority list because they are already subject to other historic preservation requirements.

The other theatres taken off the list are the Lyric Theatre at 213 W. 42nd St. (rebuilt in 1998 as the Ford Center, but newly renamed the Lyric), the Selwyn Theatre (now known as the American Airlines Theatre), the Empire Theatre (now a multiplex cinema), the Liberty Theatre, the New Apollo Theatre (incorporated into the Lyric in 1998) and The New Victory Theatre (the oldest, still-operating theatre in the Times Square neighborhood).

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