NEW YORK CITY- The revitalization of Times Square continues. The area is gaining its largest live entertainment venue as AEG Live has inked a 15-year deal to take over the 43,000-sf space that currently houses the single-screen Loews Astor Plaza Theatre at 1515 Broadway. Loews will officially close August 5 and then AEG Live, the live entertainment division of L.A. based AEG, will come in for the renovation process on its first concert venture here.

Building owner SL Green negotiated with Loews to enable AEG to have access to the site 17 months before the movie theatre’s lease expired. SL Green COO Gerry Nocera tells that it was important for the company to find a tenant for the site who would understand that it the development is topped by a 54-story 1.8 million sf office tower. “There was a lot of interest in the site,” he says. “It’s an exciting, adaptive reuse for this below-grade level space.” The tower is home base for Viacom Inc., the MTV Studios and the Minksoff Theatre.

James Kuhn, president of Newmark, represented AEG, along with Brian Waterman and Lance Korman. SL Green’s SVP and director of leasing Steven Durels structured the transaction.

According to Nocera, the site will be redesigned by the Rockwell Group into a high-end, state-of-the-art live entertainment venue with seating capacity for 2,100. Other AEG events include “Celine Dion: A New Day,” and national concert tours for the likes of Prince, the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera, Dixie Chicks, American Idol and Rod Stewart.

This is the second entertainment-oriented development announced for Times Square. Last week, urban retailer Ecko Unlimited said it would transform a 30,390-sf site at 217 West 42nd St. that used to be home to a movie theater showing Kung-Fu films into a “lifestyle destination.”

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