Is a Successful Times Square Pushing Businesses Out?
The formula is simple. More tourists equals more businesses, higher rents, guys dressed up like superheroes, a New Yorker’s cue to leave. That’s what landlords and property owners are afraid is happening to Times Square (above), reports the New York Times. Since the area was cleaned up in 1996, tourism has doubled to 40 million. Pedestrian-friendly improvements in 2009 increased foot traffic from 350,000 to 480,000 a day. Annual street-level retail rents have quadrupled since 2008, Broadway attendance is over 13 million, billboards are growing (just ask the 50,000 tourists a day who stop in front of you to stare at them), and the entire space is busting at the seams. Coincidentally (or is it?), businesses like Bertelsmann and Conde Nast have made a break for it, and average office space rents remain down from pre-2007 rates. General opinion among landlords, office workers and property managers seems to be that Times Square is just too crowded for a pre-coffee morning commute or short lunch. And that guy dressed up like Batman has GOT to go.