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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Gothamist Toys R Us in Times Square

Tour The Surreal Wasteland That Is The Times Square Toys R Us, Closing Today

victim of rising rents and the increasing dominance of online retailers, the sprawling flagship Toys R Us store in Times Square will close at 11 p.m. Wednesday night. Forever. Here's a tissue.
Shoppers browsed empty, ivory-white shelves Tuesday afternoon, searching for discount sales on merchandise that Toys R Us apparently did not want to transfer to another location. Anything leftover at closing time will be deported to the desolate Island of Misfit Toys.
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Those wooden pallets look fun! (Scott Heins / Gothamist)
Some toys were marked down by 90% of their original price, and many areas of the store—including the massive Barbie Dream House section—were completely empty. Naked metal racks laid upon particle board shelves; things were downright Grinch-like.
In an interview with Commercial Observer earlier this year, Cushman & Wakefield's Brad Mendelson, who markets the 110,000 square foot space in the Bow Tie Building at Broadway and Seventh Avenue, said "[Toys R Us] did not exercise the option to renew. Here's the long and the short of it. They have 21,000 square feet [on the ground floor]. There really is not a tenant that can rent that. The market has just escalated so." 
Rent has reportedly risen to $2,500 per square foot on the ground floor. Part of the space formerly occupied by Toys R Us will be taken over by a desperately needed Gap/Old Navy combo. 
The Times Square location opened in November 2001 and features a massive Ferris wheel, Lego recreations of New York City landmarks, a massive Willy Wonka-themed candy shop (which still operated at full capacity Tuesday), and a towering animatronic T-Rex installation.
A Toys R Us spokesperson tells Fortune the company is still looking for a new location in Manhattan, adding, "we are hopeful we can remain in the Times Square area."