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Times Square’s Glitzy, Four-Story McDonald’s Is Shutting Down After 17 Years

The closure wasn’t related to the pandemic, a spokesperson says

People walk in front of a McDonald’s at Times Square on April 30, 2020 in New York City.
McDonald’s in Times Square
Photo by Eduardo MunozAlvarez / VIEWpress via Getty Images
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

The gigantic, gaudy McDonald’s that is lit with thousands of marquee light bulbs in Times Square is permanently shutting down, the New York Post reports. A company spokesperson tells the Post that the closure was not related to the pandemic, which has decimated tourist-driven businesses in the high-traffic area.

The spokesperson told the Post that the closure was a “difficult decision,” but didn’t elaborate further on why McDonald’s decided to shut the striking location down. “McDonald’s reviews its restaurant portfolio on a regular basis to make the best decisions for our business moving forward,” the spokesperson said.

The attention-grabbing location of the worldwide fast food chain — designed to look like a Broadway theater from the outside — has been slinging burgers and fries for the past 17 years in the 17,500-square-foot, four-story space. The restaurant was used to test new menu items and kickoff national McDonald’s programs over the years like free in-store WiFi, the store’s original leadership told the Post.

Last year, the company opened up a more modern flagship location two blocks away, at 1528 Broadway, near West 45th Street. The 24-hour location features floor-to-ceiling glass walls on each of the restaurant’s three floors, with a giant McDonald’s billboard sitting on top.

Similar to the rest of the industry, McDonald’s has been struggling with declining sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The vast majority of the chain’s sales are now coming from drive-thrus in the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reports, and the company recently shifted to a limited menu and got rid of all-day breakfast.

In Times Square, the flashy restaurant closed its doors to customers on Tuesday.