The Times Square Building
229 W43, bet. Seventh and Eighth Aves. 1 Times Square
Architects: 1903-1905-Eidlitz & MacKenzie1963- Smith, Smith, Haines, Lundberg & Waehler1975- Gwathmey Siegel
Upon completion in 1904, the 25 story skyscraper, at 395 feet was acknowledged the second tallest building in the world. As The Times Tower made its presence known, the surrounding area was renamed Times Square which even then with its Broadway theaters and New Year's Eve celebrations (also started by the NY Times) began to become the 'town square' of Manhattan.
Bought in 1963 by the Allied Chemical, the building's facade underwent two years later a major update by Smith, Smith, Haines, Lundberg & Waehler. The original intricate granite and terra-cotta decor was then replaced by concrete panels with integrated marble facing, forming a sheer wall on most of the tower portion and an arched window curtain wall on the wedge-shaped lower portion facing Times Square.
As Times Square is being completely rebuilt with a new neighborhood of 40 - 50 story skyscrapers, One Times Square, although only a 25 story building stands as a giant among its companions. "The building is as much as an international icon as it ever was," says Sherwood's Collins. "We have the added value for our customers that at one time or another, everyone with a television will see this building. either in the news on any television coverage of Times Square or from any movie about New York City. You can build anything you want around One Times Square, but that doesn't change what the building stands for or does."
Because of the extensive cost of renovating the building with central air conditioninf, the building currently has no tenants and is only used to hold dozens of colorful advertisements. Additionally, the operators of One Times Square have noted that the building makes more revenue as a collection of advertisements than it would full of tenants. Brian Turner, president of Sherwood Outdoor, a partner in the building that drops the ball every New Year's Eve, is quoted as saying, "Who needs pain-in-the-butt tenants when you've got the largest sign tower in the world?" In 2000, it was reported that the building's 26 signs bring in monthly rent checks ranging from $100,000 to $250,000.
Along with the opening of Walgreens this year, One Times Square will soon be the site of the largest LED sign in all of Times Square. Walgreens is erecting a 17,000 square foot digital LED sign that contains over 12 million LEDs which will dwarf what is considered to be the current largest LED sign in Times Square, the NASDAQ sign on Broadway. The Walgreens LED sign will run diagonally up both sides of the building while looping around the front and will weigh in at a whopping 250,000 pounds.