HR&A Partners led New York City and State efforts to reinvigorate Times Square, and begin the process of building its strong brand.
Following World War II, through the 1980s, Times Square, while the heart of New York City’s entertainment district, suffered from crime, urban decay, pornography, social disaffiliation and general economic deterioration. Today, Times Square is the nation’s best example of the successful transformation of a symbol of urban decay into a world class center for entertainment.
Serving a variety of roles, HR&A Partner Carl Weisbrod spearheaded Times Square’s dramatic revival over two decades.
Carl led the following efforts:
- Law enforcement strategies; as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Midtown Enforcement (in the late 1970s);
- New York City zoning policy (to preserve Time Square’s legitimate theaters and mandate the super signage that makes the area unique), as the Executive Director of New York City Department of City Planning in the mid-1980s;
- Land acquisition and office ground lease negotiation with private developers as President of the New York State Urban Redevelopment Authority in the late- 1980s.
Carl created the New 42nd Street, a not-for-profit organization that redeveloped and oversees 42nd Street’s historic theaters. Carl continues to serve on the board of the New 42nd Street to this day. As the founding President of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC), he was the city official principally responsible for assuring the project’s ultimate success.
HR&A Partner Kate Coburn created a comprehensive retail strategy for Times Square.
Working with the Times Square Alliance, Kate developed a strategy to diversify the retail tenant mix in the Times Square area extending retail and restaurant opportunities to Eighth Avenue. She created an implementation plan to attract new tenants to the area, outlining a marketing strategy that included public relations, retailer outreach, outreach to area landlords and broker contacts.
HR&A conducted the first economic impact analysis of Times Square on the New York City economy since its transformation in 2007
Beyond measuring traditional impacts, HR&A quantified how Times Square promotes the City to the world by serving as a tourist destination, global headquarters, premier public gathering space and prime event location. The Times Square Alliance used the study to engage in the City’s PlaNYC process, securing the district’s future as one New York’s most important public spaces and vibrant mixed-use neighborhoods. HR&A recently completed an update of the 2007 impact analysis in 2011.