TIMES SQUARE — Is Toys ‘R’ Us testing the waters of a return to New York’s famed Times Square?
The toy store has been absent from the thriving tourist hub for nearly two years, but the company said Thursday that it will open a “temporary 35,000 square-foot store” in the Knickerbocker Building at 42nd and Broadway — in the heart of Times Square.
It’ll be a three-level store complete with a children’s play area, and it’s scheduled to open sometime in August, according to a press release.
Toys ‘R’ Us left the the area in December 2015, just days after the Christmas holiday.
That 110,000 square-foot flagship location, which opened in 2001, drew streams of tourists with its over-the-top décor — including an enormous T-Rex robot, life-size Barbie Dreamhouse and a 60-foot indoor Ferris wheel.
When Toys ‘R’ Us shuttered that shop, it said that it chose not to renew its lease in order to “realize meaningful rent savings.” The property owner said it would divide up the space previously occupied by the toy retailer to create multiple shops for new tenants.
Toys ‘R’ Us said its temporary return to Times Square — just down the street from its old location — comes “in response to customer demand.”
The shop will stock all the fan-favorite toys, Toys ‘R’ Us says, and feature some of its trademark decorations, including a “scaled-down” version of its animatronic dinosaur. The enormous robotic T-Rex that stood in the old Times Square location could move its head and roar at visitors.
It’s not clear if the company is planning to make a more permanent move back to Times Square. Joe Contrino, a spokesperson, said the lease for the temporary store will last “through at least the 2017 holiday season.”