20 Times Square is a 40-story hotel and retail development at 701 7th Avenue in the heart of New York’s Times Square. The project’s corner at 7th Avenue and West 47th Street is wrapped with a 17,000-square-foot LED video display that towers more than 90 feet over the intersection. The display features the highest resolution of any installation in Times Square, and it is one of the largest continuous exterior displays in the world.
Located at 701 7th Avenue, 20 Times Square is a 40-story, 350,000-square-foot project being developed by the Witkoff Group, Maefield Development, Howard Lorber’s Vector Group, Ian Schrager, and Winthrop Realty Trust. When completed, the project will include a 452-room Marriott Edition hotel, 76,000 square feet of retail space, and 40,000 square feet of food and beverage space. From the earliest stages of the project, the developers understood that digital signage would be key to the building’s success. A well-planned, high-impact LED spectacular would generate revenue that would help make the economics of the project work, and would also serve as a compelling amenity for the types of high-profile tenants that would be drawn to this world-class retail location in the middle of Times Square.
20 Times Square faced all of the daunting challenges that accompany every Times Square LED video project, including strict code requirements, a challenging construction environment, tight time frames, and the need to accommodate the needs of operational tenants in existing spaces. Here, however, the biggest challenge was meeting the project’s need for a standout installation that would attract the most desirable tenants and hold its own in the increasingly crowded Times Square advertising display market. With the building’s premium location, it was expected that the display would be one of the neighborhood’s most spectacular, and it was up to the team at Sensory Interactive to help the owners plan and deploy a digital video approach that would maximize the return on their substantial investment. Then, it fell to manufacturer Sansi North America to deliver a system that could impress the market and live up to the location’s full potential.
To meet the goal of deploying a system that would stand out to visitors and potential advertisers as the most dramatic in Times Square, Sensory Interactive began the project with a thorough technology assessment. The team identified technologies that would meet the owners’ design goals and then developed a list of fabricators equipped for the demands of a 17,000-square-foot display. This process also included creating requirements for a content management system that could meet the project’s demanding needs for flexibility, ease of use, and constant accessibility. Sansi North America was eventually selected to manufacture and install the display, and they created a screen with an 8-millimeter pixel pitch that makes it the highest-resolution exterior LED screen in Times Square. The screen accommodates the next generation of video content, including 8K, which is an ultra-high-definition format 16 times the resolution of full HD and four times the resolution of 4K.
Positioning the LED display as an iconic communication asset for building tenants and advertisers has led to a successful leasing effort and high-profile tenants that include Cirque du Soleil’s NFL Experience and the relocated Hershey’s Chocolate World flagship store. The display’s ability to present high-definition sports content was an important consideration for the NFL, particularly given the growing prevalence of signature digital video displays in stadiums around the league. The display began receiving rave reviews from visitors the minute it was turned on, and it is also seeing significant interest from advertisers. Even while the broader project is still under construction, the display is already generating significant revenue for the owners.
Sansi North America (LED display)
North Shore Neon (LED display installation)
Ryan Biggs | Clark Davis (structural engineering)