Another Step for Sustainability as Curtain Rises on Broadway’s First Green Theater

Call it the “Great Green Way.” Following on the heels of Manhattan’s iconic Empire State Building going green, Broadway is getting its first green theater. Built to green standards, Henry Miller’s Theatre has received a temporary certificate of occupancy. The 1,055-seat house is located in the new 55-story Bank of America Tower, at One Bryant Park, and will be New York’s first LEED-rated theater. The theater and the Bank of America Tower are an Empire State Development Corp. project, and a joint venture of The Durst Organization and Bank of America. “Do I think the fact that this is a green theater will sell tickets? Yeah, I do,” said David Horowitz, senior vice president of Tishman Construction Co. “Theatergoers are very familiar with current events, and they’ll want to see for themselves what the hype is about.” The 50,000-square-foot theater is the first newly built Broadway theater in more than two decades, and is located behind the preserved and restored neo-Georgian façade of the original 1918 theater. The new theater is built into a low podium between the Bank of America Tower and 4 Times Square; the podium separates the towers and preserves open space above the façade. The Durst organization and Bank of America are pursuing LEED Platinum certification for the tower, and LEED Gold for the theater. Horowitz said he could not say what the cost differential was between building green and non-green, but planning to build green from the project’s conception meant that the cost differential was “much less,” he said. Creating a healthy indoor environment for audiences was a top priority for audiences, performers, and production staff, Horowitz said. That goal was reached through 95 percent air filtration, carbon-dioxide sensors to maximize fresh air supply, and the selection of low-emitting materials. Other green features include: Forest-Stewardship Council-certified wood products, used extensively in finishes; high-recycled content wall panels and baseboards; locally sourced marble flooring and countertops; and waterless urinals to reduce consumption of potable water. Horowitz believes there are more green theaters that will be built. “Theatergoers will get used to [green], and demand it,” he said.