A new hotel has been proposed at 701 Seventh Avenue in Times Square, at the corner of 47th Street. The project, called the ‘Times Square Gateway Center,’ will rest atop a retail podium, which will be covered by a 100-foot tall LED screen.
|Times Square Gateway Center, Image from Infinity Urban Century|
The entire project will rise 36 stories, with the hotel containing 500 rooms. The LED screen will be the largest in Times Square at 24,000 square feet, and that will definitely be the distinguishing feature of this development.
The tower itself is boring, but anything stand-out in the neighborhood would have to be significantly larger so it won’t even be noticed. The tower’s podium is its most prominent feature and that should definitely come through in terms of engaging pedestrians through both retail and signage.
Some may disagree with the gigantic advertisements, but they’ve been a part of Times Square’s history since the nineteenth century. In this case, the bigger the better. Ironically, some towers in Times Square have come to function as billboards rather than buildings, with One Times Square having stood empty on the inside for years.
Perhaps increasing the allowable FAR for hotel space in Times Square would ensure that new developments are of a higher quality, especially if more activity in Times Square could reduce the market for Kaufman and Poon designed buildings in nearby neighborhoods. Higher-profile projects normally have high-profile architects, whose work is much less likely to disappoint.
Nonetheless, the Gateway Center snagging the title of largest LED screen is impressive. Could 701 Seventh Avenue trigger a new war for the largest LED screen in Times Square?