Decides not to refurbish Times Square Theater

NEW YORK — In a move signaling financial retrenchment, the financially troubled Livent has backed out of plans to restore and refurbish the 500-seat Times Square Theater on 42nd Street. The legit company and the New 42nd Street Inc. announced Wednesday that Livent had “decided not to exercise its option for a multi-purpose development” at 219 W. 42nd St.

Livent chairman and CEO Roy Furman said in a statement that “our proposal did not deliver sufficient returns for the company.”

Livent announced on Aug. 5 it would develop the space, refurbishing the theater as well as a two-level gourmet restaurant, a theater related retail area and ap-proximately 10,000 square feet of office space.

The departure of Livent opens up questions as to who will fill the space. Cora Cahan, president of New 42nd Street, the org overseeing the refurbishing of the long-vexed street, said that “we will move forward quickly to explore various other opportunities.”

Those other opportunities may include theater of an altogether different sort: The World Wrestling Federation had bid in August for the space to develop a theme restaurant and a wrestling-focused retail store.

Another distinct possibility is that the Manhattan Theater Club, long on the hunt for theatrical space to make the Off Broadway org Tony Award-eligible, could make a try for the space.

Whatever comes, it won’t be cheap space: “Because we’re subsidizing (space), … we’re looking for counterpoint. The New 42nd Street has a responsibility to help support the nonprofits.” Cahan said.

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