Douglas Fairbanks Theatre / John Houseman Theater
432/450 West 42nd Street (between 9th / 10th Avenues)
Theatre Row once extended to the block between 9th and 10th Avenues. However, developer Stephen M. Ross came up with the idea of building an 1,800 seat venue for the fabulously profitable Cirque du Soleil in addition to a 60-story apartment building goldmine. In a tactic typically used to thwart preservationists, Ross rushed to level the old theatres as quickly as possible in 2004. But while the other former residents of "Theatre Row" were replaced with spaces that, arguably, represented a positive addition to the New York non-profit theare community, this represented a blatant land grab, made all the more noxious by the presence of a city zoning regulation designed to help preserve theatre space on 42nd Street that permitte construction of a taller tower than would normally be allowed. This caused his scheme to be stalled in the face of stiff community opposition.
However, in the end, the developer always wins and the result became 440 West 42nd Street, a 60-story, full-block luxury monstrosity with 623 rental units, 151 condos on upper floors and a new space for the Signature Theatre Company.