Jamestown chairman Christoph Kahl and One Times Square (Jamestown LP, iStock)
Jamestown is full-steam ahead in its $500 million metaverse-tinged redevelopment of One Times Square.
The firm landed $425 million in financing from JPMorgan Chase to cover most of the redevelopment, the Commercial Observer reported. About $208 million of debt refinances CMBS date that goes back to Jamestown’s acquisition loan in 1997.
Jamestown also landed an $88.7 million building loan and a $39.8 million project loan. Eastdil Secured’s Grant Frankel and Tanner McNeill were part of the team that brokered the financing.
With financing in place, Jamestown is ready to move forward with its redevelopment of the iconic property, home to the corner’s recognizable advertisements and the New Year’s Eve ball drop. The advertising will remain on while the redevelopment takes place.
Jamestown is planning to open 12 additional floors to the public at the century-old 25-story building, as well as installing a rooftop viewing deck that could come in handy every December 31st.
There’s also a goal to turn the property into something resembling the building’s counterpart in the metaverse, a virtual world hosted in the online world of Decentraland. To that end, Jamestown will be integrating virtual and augmented reality experiences into the design.
Jamestown president Michael Phillips has waxed poetic about the metaverse in the past, claiming it was not something that needed to be feared. Instead, Phillips has said the metaverse and virtual real estate is a natural extension of smartphones and the internet.
“We are reimagining how spaces can be experienced by leveraging the power of AR technology and creative storytelling,” Phillips said in a release regarding the redevelopment.
That belief will be put to the test with the One Times Square redevelopment, a 27-month process expected to conclude and open to the public in the summer of 2024.
In 2021, three otherwise unassuming letters would upend the worlds of cryptocurrency, technology, art, and pop culture all at once. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, were propelled into the mainstream after an unprecedented $69.4 million sale at the historic art auction house Christie‘s in New York City.
The sale of digital artist Beeple‘s Everydays at Christie’s for $69.4 million marked the beginning of a seemingly unstoppable NFT wave, where everyone from digital artists to mainstream celebrities like Paris Hilton, Mark Cuban, Steve Aoki and many others began creating, selling, and collecting NFTs via cryptocurrency on the Blockchain.
While NFTs initially focused on the importance of ownership of digital assets, they soon also became part of a social movement where groups of creators and collectors began communities based on buying and selling NFTs. Some early examples of these groups include CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club, but many more have since risen in popularity as the world of NFTs continues to expand and propels new digital artists, like 17-year-old Diana Sinclaire, to international fame.
Will the rise of the metaverse see a move to not only wearing VR goggles, but full body suits to feel the wind, fresh water and even to act as the protagonist in our favourite movie?
Time will tell. But the sense of reality companies eventually develop, and how people react, will be key for companies, fund managers and investors to capitalise on what has been called the next big disruption – the metaverse.
In the keynote address at Citywire Montreux 2022, researcher and broadcaster Stephanie Hare delved into the tricky questions that surround the great push towards virtual, augmented or mixed realities.
The military’s version of a metaverse doesn’t quite align with Mark Zuckerberg and Meta’s vision for a virtual world for us to inhabit.
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Credit: Red 6
Using augmented reality (AR), two fighter pilots completed a high-altitude drill a few thousand feet high over the desert of California on May 10th. Flying a pair of Berkut 540 jets and donning custom AR headsets, the pilots were shown virtual refueling aircraft in the sky, allowing one of the pilots to practice a refueling maneuver with the virtual aircraft.
The augmented and virtual reality (VR) technology, head-mounted displays and artificial intelligence (AI) powered environments being developed by Red 6 allow pilots to take part in virtual dog fights against enemy aircraft and more while pulling several G’s. Red 6 is developing a platform that will allow them to display various scenarios in AR and VR, while using lower latency and higher reliability hardware than consumer-grade AR and VR headsets.
“We can fly against whatever threat we want. And that threat could be controlled either by an individual remotely or by artificial intelligence. What we’re building is really a military metaverse. It’s like a multiplayer video game in the sky,” says Daniel Robinson, founder and CEO of Red 6.
AR and VR have become staples of military training of late in projects like Project Avenger and Project BlueShark. Now, the military is setting its sights on integrating various technologies to create more interconnected virtual systems, and recently held a high-level conference in a virtual environment attended by more than 250 people from across the world.
“It is an extremely complex type of simulation, especially given the fidelity that the military demands. You can either have live players who are participating in the simulation or [characters] can be AI-enabled, which is often what the military does,” said Caitlin Dohrman, general manager of the defense division of Improbable, a company that develops virtual world technologies.