- We talked with David Orowitz managing director of L&L Holdings, the company behind TSX Broadway about his vision for the retail space.
- Orowitz said he envisions TSX Broadway will be a haven for technology and media brands looking to showcase new products and host events to a captive audience, using emerging technologies like augmented and virtual reality.
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When David Levinson and David Orowitz decided to break ground on a $2.2 billion project in Times Square an undertaking that involves conjoining and renovating multiple buildings that when complete will serve as mix of hotel, retail, and event space they knew it would come with risk.
Though up to 450,000 people visit Times Square every day , the vast audience doesn't always translate to profit or longevity for retailers in the area thanks to costly real estate prices and fickle consumers.
As New York Times reporter C.J Hughes notes , visitors are already overstimulated by the barrage of stores and flashing signs in the area, not to mention that they may be disenchanted by recent endeavors that failed to stay afloat longterm, such as The N.F.L. Experience Times Square.
Still, that didn't stop Levinson and Orowitz CEO and managing director of L&L Holding Company, respectively from demolishing one of the most profitable DoubleTree hotels in the world and lifting the third-largest Broadway theater several stories in an effort to build an updated luxury hotel anchored by 75,000 square feet of retail space.
"Twenty two cents of every tourist dollar is spent in Times Square," Orowitz told Business Insider. "That level of commercialization is really powerful, for a brand to be able to be associated with a place that is authentic, that everybody has memories of, that everybody goes to when they come to New York."
The building, titled TSX Broadway and expected to be complete in 2022, is located at the intersection of 47th Street and Broadway, which Orowitz called "the most trafficked corner in the Western Hemisphere." Orowitz walked us through renderings of the building and explained his vision for the experiential retail space in advance of its opening.
The entire facade of TSX Broadway will be emblazoned with LED lights, which will allow it to virtually act as its own billboard. "The entire tower, 580 feet up, is a sign," Orowitz said.
It wouldn't be a true Times Square building without a giant sign attached to it.
Part of what L&L Holdings is banking on with TSX Broadway is its ability to bring updated architecture and design to an area rife with buildings that are multiple centuries old, said Orowitz.
"One thing about Times Square is everything's old," he said. "Many buildings there are from the late 1800s. It's very hard to get something modern, and we're able to do so by acquiring a bunch of different pieces and putting them together."
TSX Broadway will include a performance stage that will be available to rent for events like concerts, Broadway performances, and product launches, Orowitz said.
While Times Square is an attractive location for event planning due to its massive captive audience, it can be a headache both logistically and financially. When complete, the stage will function as a 30 foot by 30 foot panel that juts out to the broadest part of the plaza, Orowitz said.
"To build a stage there, to run broadcast cabling, to have your talent there those things are really difficult," he said. "It's also expensive permit-wise. So we're building a permanent infrastructure to basically create a private-owned stage in Times Square."
Near the stage, TSX Broadway will also have ample outdoor terrace space for fine dining.
In the early 1900s, the Palace Theater became the epicenter of vaudeville. For the reconstruction of the famed venue, Orowitz said the team is taking great care to ensure the aesthetic is preserved, while improving certain aspects like acoustics that will make it more appealing for musicals and plays.
Prior to its closing in September 2018, The Palace Theater was home to the Tony-winning "Spongebob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical."
As designed, the experiential retail component of TSX Broadway will comprise the first several levels of the building, situated below the hotel.
Orowitz said he envisions the retail levels being particularly appealing to technology and media companies, for use as a platform to showcase not only new products, but also content like films, music, and attractions.
However, he said there are multiple ways to use the space and several working conceptualizations as TSX Broadway prepares to court tenants.
"[Many] online brands think that they need a physical presence now, with brands like Amazon opening stores," Orowitz said. "Most of these brands have been really successful online, but know that they need to have showrooms. They need to have ways that they can engage with customers in a physical location beyond just on their phones, and then they need to integrate the two."
L&L Holding Company foresees that New Year's Eve will be a major cash cow for the hotel given its optimal vantage point to the ball drop. While Orowitz declined to give exact room rates for the event, he said it will be higher than the previous cost at the Doubletree a cool $15,000 a night.
Orowitz said TSX Broadway has learned from the mistakes of less successful ventures in the area, and plans to integrate a variety of emerging technologies into the experience to keep things interesting, including augmented and virtual reality.
"Times Square is this really unique space where 127 million people come every year. There are just a massive amount of people around the world seeing it. It's very visually interesting," he said.
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