A historic opera house on Philadelphia's North Broad Street is set to be transformed into a Live Nation-managed concert venue following a $45-million rehab of the block-long, 3,500-capacity venue. Originally built by Oscar Hammerstein in 1908, the Metropolitan Opera House is being redeveloped by builder Eric Blumenfeld and is set to open in September 2018.
"For any historic venue, it takes a while to plan and make sure you restore it in the right way," Geoff Gordon, regional president of Live Nation tells Billboard. "Eric has been very careful that the building stayed true to its original form."
The building fits nicely into Live Nation's existing portfolio of Philadelphia venues, including the the 2,400-capacity Fillmore and the 3,000-capacity Tower Theater. Competitor AEG operates the 3,000-capacity Electric Factory while the Kimmel Center operates its own 2,500-capacity venue.
"It was an opera house. It was a movie theater. They played basketball on the stage at one point," Gordon explains. "It's going be pretty remarkable once they complete the renovation. Developer Eric Blumenfeld does A-class work and he's committed more to this because it's also a piece of a puzzle of North Broad. It will really make the area light up."
Gordon tells Billboard that Blumenfeld is currently working with several local restaurateurs to curate the food offerings.
"There will definitely be VIP accommodations for those who want that," Gordon explains, adding that the VIPs will have access to separate entrances, parking areas. opera boxes and high-end food and beverage offerings.
"The story of of the Met coming back to life is the story of the growth of Philadelphia in the last decade," Gordon said. "Philadelphia's hot right now and Philadelphia is a great music and concert town. We're just trying to always bring great experiences for people that want to come out and see our shows."