Ripley’s, Modell’s and Liberty Theater abandon 234 West 42nd Street

(Photograph by Sasha Jones)

Just over a year ago, the 234 West 42nd Street retail and entertainment complex was a bustling part of Times Square, with Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, Dave & Busters and Applebee’s among the establishments anchoring the block. between the seventh and eighth avenues.

But in the wake of the pandemic, tenants have slowly emptied the building and it is struggling to regain its former glory.

The most recent victims are those of Modell, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and the Liberty Theater. All three spaces are currently marketed as available for lease by Cushman & Wakefield, according to the public. real estate brochures. They would leave behind a total of 64,728 square feet of vacant space. A broker for the company declined to comment.

Modell’s, which filed for bankruptcy last year, and the Liberty Theater has already closed. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not was still open on a recent visit, and company representatives did not respond to a request for comment.

This is not the first time that main property in Times Square has been injured during the pandemic. A Hilton hotel in one place closed definitely last year, and its owner, Sunstone Hotel Investors, turned the keys to property to one of its mortgage lenders in January. The entrance to the hotel is now surrounded by yellow tape.

Other businesses in the building, including an Applebee restaurant, have been closed due to the pandemic. The AMC Empire 25 cinema was only given the green light to reopen in early March.

Today, Times Square has nothing to do with a year ago. Last January, the region was a hub of activity, with around 303,338 daily visitors on average. But by January 2021, pedestrian traffic had fallen 70% to 89,856, according to the Times Square Alliance’s monthly pedestrian tally.

This drop in pedestrian traffic has led to bankruptcies, lawsuits and closures – and, therefore, hurt homeowners. The average asking rent per square foot in the area hit $ 1,643 in fall 2020, down 13% year-over-year, according to a REBNY detail report.

During a tour of the property on March 16, the Modell’s notice board on the front of the building was dark, as was the one at the Liberty Theater. Ripley still had signs of life, with her doors open and videos of human wonders playing on her signage. Several visitors were inside to take photos.

Applebee’s, meanwhile, had a sign on its dark storefront adorned with the words “Go for it.”

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