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Revitalized Times Square Gets Pricy

February 4, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ The prostitutes have been replaced by a Virgin Mega Store, and Times Square real estate considered dangerous after dark just a few years ago has become some of the most sought-after in the world.

A list released Wednesday of the World’s 10 Most Expensive Streets included the revitalized Times Square _ at No. 6 _ along with such elite thoroughfares as Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, which remains at the top of the list.

It beat out such swanky addresses as Los Angeles’ Rodeo Drive (No. 7) and the Ginza in Tokyo (No. 8).

Michael Hirschfeld, director of the Equis Retail Group, which conducts the annual survey of retail rents, said Times Square’s redevelopment has caught the attention of the public and national retailers.

``It’s once again a place where people go to linger and shop,″ Hirschfeld said. ``It had been a place that people just traveled through.″

Not long ago, much of the foot traffic through Times Square was for peep shows, massage parlors or live sex shows. Now, many of those have been replaced by theme restaurants, theaters, a Disney store and soon a wax museum.

Times Square vaulted onto the Equis list, right after Paris’ Avenue des Champs Elysee (No. 5). For the list’s purposes, Times Square includes properties from 42nd to 47th streets on Broadway and Seventh Avenue plus 42nd Street from Broadway to Eighth Avenue.

Economic troubles in Asia saw two famous thoroughfares drop down the list; the Ginza fell from third last year, and Hong Kong’s Nathan Road dropped from eighth to ninth.

The list of 1998 World’s Most Expensive Streets:

1. Fifth Avenue between 48th and 57th streets, New York _ $580 per square foot. Rank last year: 1.

2. East 57th Street between Fifth and Madison avenues, New York _ $500 per square foot. Rank last year: 2.

3. Oxford Street, London _ $400 per square foot. New to the list.

4. Madison Avenue between 57th and 69th streets, New York _ $375 per square foot. Rank last year: 4.

5. Avenue des Champs Elysee, Paris _ $360 per square foot. Rank last year: 9.

6. Times Square, New York _ $340 per square foot. New to the list.

7. Rodeo Drive, Los Angeles _ $300 per square foot. Unranked last year, 10th in 1996.

8. The Ginza, Tokyo _ $290 per square foot. Rank last year: 3.

9. (tie) Union Square, San Francisco _ $250 per square foot. New to the list.

9. (tie) Nathan Road, Hong Kong _ $250 per square foot. Rank last year: 8.

10. Rockefeller Plaza, New York _ $240 per square foot. New to the list.

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