The little I. Miller Building at 1552 Broadway in Times Square, a 1926 landmark of footware and fame, is about to get a fresh face as it expands into the larger Actors' Equity building next door. The newly configured emporium will be home to retailer Express and the planned expansion will triple the retail footprint, blowing it up to 45,000 square feet. An application has been submitted to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, to be heard on October 2nd, to "remove interior floors and the east party wall." That work will create a direct connection between the 4-story building and the 17-story building at 165 West 46th Street. The I. Miller Building will be opened up into the first two floors of the Actor's building, causing the 2nd floor Equity Lounge and Audition Center to relocate up to the 16th floor.
Shoe fetishists and other fans have been praying that the creative lease behind the I. Miller expansion will bring an opportunity to save this Times Square treasure. Those overtures are being answered, and the LPC recently gave the OK for a full facade restoration. The work will be done under the guidance of Rogers Marvel Architects, and promises to bring a fresh face to this tired corner at the Crossroads of the World.
Up top, the original terracotta parapet and frieze crowning Miller's shoe palace will be replaced. There'll be a total rehab of the four famous actresses, each chosen by an adoring public to adorn the Niches of Fame over West 46th Street. Statues of that talented quartet, shoeman I. Miller's homage to show business, will be restored on site. Missing fIngers, noses and other details will be replaced and the mosaic niche backgrounds will be reset and resecured.
Across the facade, details will be brought back to life. Bronze lettering up top will be refurbished and replicated to match missing or damaged originals. Limestone rondelles beneath the niches will be cleaned and the window surrounds in rosso levanto marble will be repaired and replicated as needed. Granite plinths at the base will be fully restored. All of this detailed work will bring this little gem back to its original glory.
Meanwhile new mega-signage has been approved to go in above the building, filled with LED advertising screens to brighten the Great White Way. Lighting will also be installed to illuminate the I. Miller facade, both at the exterior and interior, providing a glow through the windows and showing off the details that have covered this corner for nearly a century.
· Sutton and SL Green ink creative lease to expand retail options at 1552 Bway [The Real Deal]
· Early Celebrity Endorsements in Times Square Architecture [Curbed]
· 1552 Broadway coverage [Curbed]
[Pete Davies is a Curbed contributor and New York State-licensed real estate salesperson working with SCG-Retail, a retail brokerage specializing in securing leases in New York City for national and international retailers]