The real estate firm behind one of America’s most glitzy traditions is ushering in 2022 in – where else? – the metaverse.
Jamestown, the owner of One Times Square, is recreating the 26-story tower at the heart of New York’s New Year’s Eve ball drop in Decentraland. The company announced the plan Wednesday as a partnership with Digital Currency Group (DCG), the longtime Decentraland backer with major holdings in the platform’s MANA and LAND tokens. (DCG is the parent company of an editorially independent CoinDesk.)
As the value of virtual real estate in popular metaverse games like Decentraland and The Sandbox continues to soar, involvement from real-world real estate developers like Jamestown could be a trend to watch.
It comes at a time when the real Times Square ball drop will be limited to 15,000 socially distanced and fully vaccinated attendees due to a rise in COVID-19 cases. The event typically hosts 58,000 and is watched on TV by many more.
The virtual One Times Square will span 170 parcels of Decentraland property and include the unveiling of the game’s first high-rise building.
The celebration, dubbed MetaFest 2022, will include NFT art galleries, rooftop VIP lounges and virtual music performances, according to a press release. Virtual billboards will tie the experience to the event’s meatspace counterpart via livestreams of New York City.
How much Jamestown spent on its virtual real estate wasn’t disclosed, though the construction project was said to be part of the firm’s larger digital asset strategy.
The metaverse is an important part of the evolution of real estate and the built environment, Jamestown President Michael Phillips said in a press release. Whereas physical real estate is largely limited to people with geographic proximity, the metaverse can give people around the world meaningful access to places through immersive virtual experiences.
Interestingly, Decentraland isn’t Jamestown’s only metaverse bet. The firm is also behind the app VNYE, which offers a different virtual space in which experience the New York tradition debuted by the firm last year.