PHILADELPHIA, PA (CelebrityAccess) — Philadelphia's long lost Metropolitan Opera House on North Broad Street is on track to return to life as a live music venue.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Live Nation has signed a lease and operating deal with real estate developer Eric Blumenfeld of EB Realty Group with plans in place to re-open the music hall by the end of 2018.
“It’s exciting because it’s a world-class opera house,” Geoff Gordon, regional president of Live Nation, told the Inquirer.
Originally opened in 1908 as the city's pre-eminent music hall and the largest theater of its kind in the world. However, the opera house eventually transitioned into a movie theater and then converted into a ballroom before being recast as a sports venue with programming such as basketball and wrestling but business waned as the neighborhood changed. In 1954, the property was sold and became a church before being declared dangerous in 1988.
In October 2012 Holy Ghost Headquarters Church and developer Eric Blumenfeld entered into a development partnership with Blumenfeld eventually purchasing the building for $1, but the $35 million rehabilitation of the property went off the tracks amidst litigation between its owners.
The opening of the Met as a music venue will expand Live Nation's already substantial footprint in the market. The company already operates the 2,400-capacity Fillmore Philadelphia in Fishtown and the 3,000-capacity Tower Theater in Upper Darby, and they will be competing against a number of other similarly sized rooms in the market, such as the 2,500-capacity Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center and the 3,000-cap Electric Factory. But Gordon sees the diversity of venues in the market as complimentary rather than competition.
There were no real restaurants, right? Then a guy named Stephen Starr decided to open Buddakan and all these other restaurants. And it was, ‘Can the city handle it?‘ Well, look at what the city’s handling right now. The NFL draft and the Penn Relays in the same week. Made in America. How many new jobs will there be when the new Comcast tower goes up? 2000? Those people are going to be looking for things to do,” Gordon told the Inquirer. – Staff Writers