Is it really big or really small? The heads of multifamily giant E&M Associates and partners filed plans Tuesday to construct a new, 49,000-square-foot Times Square tourist attraction known as Gulliver’s Gate.
Michael Langer, principal at E&M, is spearheading the $37 million project with Eiran Gazit, who founded the 14-acre Mini Israel attraction outside of Jerusalem. Gulliver’s Gate is a large indoor display depicting a miniature world stretching from South America to England to New York City (no word on whether Lilliput and Blefuscu will be featured).
The two-story space sits at the base of the former New York Times Building and has the address of 216 West 44th Street. Kushner Companies purchased the retail portion of the building in 2015 for $296 million.
Construction is slated to begin next month. The first construction permit application for alterations to the space includes the proposed addition of a grand entrance with ceiling heights exceed 30 feet. There will be building columns made to look like skyscrapers, as well as model planes and trains.
Stanley Wong of SP Wong Architect is serving as the architect of record. Though Beyer Blinder Belle provided conceptual designs for the project, he’s no longer involved.
For Langer, the project marks a move toward more ambitious development. E&M Management, a Flatbush-based real estate investment firm that owns about 10,000 rental apartments in the city, renovated multifamily and office buildings in the past, Langer said.
His father Irving Langer, president and founder of E&M, is also an investor and chairman of the board for Gulliver’s Gate.
In November, the operators of Gulliver’s Gate signed a 15-year lease for the space, with ground-floor asking rent of $300 per square foot. The transaction was nominated for a Real Estate Board of New York “Retail Deal of the Year” award last week.
The project will now go through the seven-month Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), and seek approval from Landmarks Preservation Commission for the portion of the space on the building’s landmarked West 43rd Street side. Other tenants at the 18-story building at 229 West 43rd Street include Snapchat, Yahoo and Bowlmor.
The space formerly housed restaurant Jekyll and Hyde Club and a former New York Times paper plant.
When it opens in spring 2017, Langer said the space will fit about 850 people at a time and as many as 3 million people a year. He said the primary target is millennials.
“It will be a sophisticated child-like experience, but not a childish experience,” Langer said.