Time of the signs: Landlords cashing in on LED billboards

Owners like Vornado and SL Green adding huge displays to Times Square buildings

From left: Leon Charney, Steven Roth and an LED billboard in Times Square
From left: Leon Charney, Steven Roth and an LED billboard in Times Square

Apparently, massive LED signage on Times Square is the new advertising.

Times Square landlords are increasingly including large displays along their buildings as part of their business. Vornado Realty Trust is lighting up a new, huge electronic sign in the heart of the area on Tuesday, according to the Wall Street Journal. The electronic billboard on the Marriott Marquis will be the length of a football field, the newspaper reported, and will measure between six and eight stories tall.

Other landlords in the area who are doing the same include SL Green Realty Corp. and developer Leonard Charney. Swig Co. and Himmel + Meringoff Properties are planning to build a 6,000 to 7,000-square-f00t LED sign at 1460 Broadway as part of a larger redevelopment project, the newspaper reported.

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One Times Square earned more than $23 million from renting the signage on the building, according to the Journal. The owners of 1500 Broadway — where the studio for ABC’s Good Morning America is located — could make roughly $5 million per year by renting out four of the seven signs they own.

The boards themselves have become an attraction for retail tenants, the newspaper reported. Tenants often pay more for the signage than advertising companies do. The bright billboards serve as both a marketing tool and revenue source for retailers in Times Square.

“There’s not that many places in the world you can have digital signs like those in Times Square the whole world sees,” Joshua Strauss, executive vice president at RKF told the newspaper. “It’s constantly being exposed to the world through other media.” [WSJ] — Claire Moses


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