Nederlander’s Palace Theatre rebuild by TSX Broadway is on schedule to reopen in 2022 to become the newest and largest Broadway theatre in New York City
Originally built in 1913 and then updated in 1929, Broadway’s Palace Theatre’s newest renovation plans were approved by the New York City Council and the new theatre is expected to reopen late 2022. With grandiose plans still in the works and a $2.5 billion budget to work with, this massive project may have had questionable closed-door meetings and some major legal battles, but the new Palace Theatre is on schedule to open on Broadway right on time. The Palace Theatre landlords, The Nederlander Organization and Co-owner Stewart F. Lane, could not be more pleased with this development as they get to keep their old theatre and did not have to contribute to the construction costs that are occurring for this process that brings an antiquated Broadway theatre into the gleaming new world of 21st century architecture, right into the heart of Times Square.
Palace Theatre is Elevated and Commercial and Retail Space Built Around It
The construction plans for 1568 Broadway are pretty complex and have been divided into different elements. The project construction company, using the same moniker "TSX Broadway" has three different working plans to update and renovate the entire 550,000 sq ft building with a multi-use retail, hotel, sports and theatre purpose. While the project is much more than just moving and updating Broadway’s renowned Palace theatre, it may be the most difficult aspect of the rebuild. The plans for the Palace Theatre itself are quite complicated due to the fact that the Palace Theatre is a listed building on the Historic New York City landmarks list and the developers cannot tamper with the original structure all that much, but they can move it, and that is exactly what they are doing.
The current plan is to keep the inside of the Palace Theatre “untouched” and to literally pick the entire theatre up, stage and all, in order to elevate the theatre to the third floor of this new TSX Broadway development. The rules of the reconstruction of the Palace Theatre are quite tight and do not allow the developer to change the original setup of the theatre, stage or the architecture of the theatre itself. What usually happens when a Broadway theatre gets a massive rebuild, is that the facade of the theatre is kept and the insides are demolished and replaced with new construction, more appropriate to current building standards and ADA compliance. This is the first time when a Broadway theatre is having the renovation done the other way around. This process creates a major headache for the engineers to sort out and has created some legal battles between certain Broadway aficionados and the TSX Broadway development team.
What Changes at The Palace Theatre and What Remains the Same
The inside parts of the Palace Theatre that are being gutted and redone include; the actors dressing rooms, the lighting and sound rooms as well as the backstage managers offices. While they cannot redevelop the original seating and the architecture in the main theatre, they can add a little more seating to the new Palace Theatre. Current plans suggest that there will be a 25% increase with more seating being installed during the rebuild in the orchestra section. This will increase the number of seats to approximately 2,200 people from its 1,743 current theatre size and would make this the largest “true” Broadway theatre (discounting Radio City Music Hall with 6,015 seats, The Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden with 5,600 seats and the David H. Koch Theatre with 2,586 seats). Due to some loopholes in the listed NYC building guidelines, the new Palace Theatre will have an all-new stage lighting system and new wider aisles for people to walk through as well as some other unreleased updates. This should mix up the layout from its current 1910’s vaudeville theatre style to a new mashup style which has both elements from the old theatre and some new ideas.
Who is Conducting the Construction Project
As the plans are for the renovation is quite substantial, three private real estate investment firms worked together on this Broadway theatre rebuild. Under the joint name TSX Broadway; Maefield Development, L&L Holding Company and Fortress worked together to take on the mega project. All three businesses are massive private real estate management, investment and development companies who have designed buildings all around the world. Maefield has holdings in San Francisco California as well as West Hollywood, and has lead a number of successful housing developments in Miami Beach Florida. This project is the first of two large projects they plan on taking on in New York City. L&L is no stranger to the NYC real estate scene, they own the rights to 425 Park Ave, 390 Madison Ave and other highly valued apartments buildings in the city. Fortress is a bit different from the other companies. They are the biggest and have over $40 billion in assets that they manage. They specialize in diversified international investments and may become a financier for TSX Broadway as they run out of money. Fortress was added to this project in July of 2019 and was not part of the initial plan by the original partners for the rebuild.
What This Means For Broadway
No other theatre on Broadway has had a face lift of this magnitude since the Hudson Theatre in 2017, but even that rebuild pales in comparison. Still after TSX Broadway's innovative project, the Nederlander Theatre Organization, who also owns eight other Broadway theatres, will still hold its place at second for the biggest theatre landlord on Broadway, only falling behind the Shubert Organization who owns a whopping 17 Broadway Theatres.