Jamestown plans New Year’s ball drop at metaverse Times Square

Real estate investor partnered with Digital Currency Group for Decentraland party

Jamestown president Michael Phillips (Jamestown/One Times Square)
Jamestown president Michael Phillips (Jamestown/One Times Square)

A recent surge in Covid-19 cases has scaled down Times Square’s iconic New Year’s Eve celebration, but Jamestown Properties and Digital Currency Group are ringing in the new year in a new way.

The firm announced Wednesday plans to host a virtual ball drop celebration at a digitally fabricated Times Square in Decentraland, one of the two main metaverses. The virtual One Times Square drops on New Year’s Eve with the “MetaFest 2022” party slated to feature entertainment, immersive games and live streams of the real Times Square on digital billboards.

It’ll be a busy night for Jamestown. The firm behind Manhattan’s Chelsea Market and San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square also owns the real One Times Square, a 22-story tower that holds the ball at the center of each year’s New Year’s Eve Ball Drop Celebration.

Metaverse development firms GrowYourBase and MetaVenture Studios built the virtual One Times Square, which they claim marks the first high-rise in Decentraland.

The metaverse is useful to real estate because it allows people to access places without being geographically close to them, Jamestown president Michael Phillips said.

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“Recreating One Times Square in the Decentraland metaverse is part of a larger digital asset strategy to evolve and enhance our physical real estate for Web 3.0 and open new pathways for our assets to exist in multiple metaverses in the future,” Phillips said in a statement.

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Phillips previously told The Real Deal’s T.P. Yeatts that he saw the virtual landscape as a natural extension of the internet and “smartphone culture” that could complement traditional real estate in the same way as mobile technology.

As the metaverse attracts attention from larger investors and major social media companies, public squares have emerged as prime real estate.

Decentraland recently set a record for the largest ever virtual land deal, when Tokens.com Corp. spent $2.4 million for an “estate” in the metaverse’s fashion district.