NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A dozen new businesses – including a new Planet Hollywood, Ben & Jerry’s and H&M clothing store – will soon be coming to Times Square.
The Times Square Alliance said in its November monthly report that the 12 new stores will all be coming soon, although no opening dates were specified.
The new businesses include:
• A Pret a Manger natural food restaurant and a Just Salad restaurant on 48th Street east of Eighth Avenue;
• A new Asian restaurant, Satya Eastern Kitchen, taking over the old McHale’s pub space at 750 Eighth Ave.;
• An Express clothing store at 46th Street and Seventh Avenue;
• An outpost of the ghoul-themed Jekyll & Hyde Café and Ha! Comedy Club in the old New York Times building at 232 W. 44th St., which also houses Bowlmor Lanes; the Times Square Discovery Center; Food Network Star Guy Fieri’s first New York City restaurant, Fieri’s American Kitchen and Bar; among other establishments.
• A Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, on 44th Street near Seventh Avenue, supplanting a location on Eighth Avenue that closed;
• An H&M clothing store at 42nd Street and Broadway, in the former ESPN Zone space;
• A new film and theatre attraction, Broadway 4D, taking over the long-vacant Times Square Theatre building at 217 W. 42nd St.;
• An outpost of the Café Hestia deli on 40th Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues.
Two other new businesses also opened recently, including the female impersonator cabaret restaurant Lucky Cheng’s in the former Touch nightclub space on 52nd Street, and a Microsoft popup store at Seventh Avenue and 45th Street.
DNAInfo reported the new additions will leave about 26 retail properties still available for rent – some now vacant and some with occupants that are leaving – between 40th and 53rd streets.
Overall, the occupancy in Times Square was 88.3 percent in October, slightly lower than the approximately 91 percent for Midtown overall, DNAInfo reported.
From the 1960s well into the 1990s, Times Square had a reputation for being seedy and dangerous. In 1987, 35 pornographic movie theaters operated on 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues alone, former Mayor Rudolph Guiliani recalled to the Washington Post in a 2008 article. The area was also surrounded by peep shows, adult bookstores and movie arcades, drug dealing and prostitution.
Some adult businesses persist in the area, particularly along Eighth Avenue and on the blocks adjacent to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. But Times Square has long since regained its reputation as the crossroads of the world, and in October 2012, the plaza at 42nd and 43rd streets saw a 10 percent jump in pedestrians compared with the year before, DNAInfo reported.