But the building’s owner, Jamestown Properties, has plans to create an interactive local history museum across a few floors, said Michael Phillips, Jamestown’s president.
In the meantime, it’s also going high tech on the prow of the building, at 1475 Broadway. The facade, which for two decades displayed a giant steam-emitting likeness of a Cup Noodles container, went digital years ago. But as part of a $12 million upgrade this spring, it offers more LED coverage, including a new 200-foot-tall, 7,200-square-foot screen.
“Times Square has gone through a few revitalizations,” from seedy hub to office zone and family destination, Mr. Phillips said. With the attention to interactivity, “it’s now on Version 3.0.”
In a sense, New York has had buildings that were used as billboards for brands before. The Chrysler Building, for instance, developed by the eponymous car company, splashed its presence across the skyline while offering auto showrooms inside.
“But those buildings didn’t show off their brand ostentatiously,” said Bernd H. Schmitt, who teaches marketing classes at Columbia’s business school. Still, if there’s any place for over-the-top sales pitches, it’s probably Times Square, which draws 138 million pedestrians each year, according to 2018 figures from the Times Square Alliance.
“Once you start seeing LEDs in suburban New Jersey, then you will have a problem,” Professor Schmitt said.