Plans for Cincinnati Music Hall Renovation Unveiled

October 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

On Monday, September 20th, more than 270 people representing tenants and stakeholders in Music Hall gathered in Music Hall’s ballroom. They were there to hear a presentation from Hazard, a partner in the New York firm Ennead Architects, the design firm charged with the massive task of renovating the historic hall. From the meeting, three goals emerged for the $100 million renovation project:

1) Transform the entire front of the hall’s first floor along Elm Street facing Washington Park, from the North Wing to the South Wing, into public space. This space will feature art galleries, shops, cafes, bars, a patron’s lounge and box offices.

2) Construct two new halls in the North Wing. These will be used both as rehearsal space and also as alternative performance halls, allowing experimental or small productions to be presented in a more intimate setting.

3) Reopen the many bricked-up windows to restore the landmark as a brilliant beacon in the city.

I think that all three of these goals are vital to transforming Music Hall into a more useful venue that really serves the community. The public space on the first floor is an excellent idea, especially with the renovation of Washington Park in mind. The combination of these two spaces will create a real community area in the heart of Over-the-Rhine. I believe that the completion of this phase of the project will attract even more restaurants and bars to the area to capitalize on the new foot traffic. Currently, there are really no nice restaurants in the area right around Music Hall, which is a shame because so many people would undoubtedly visit these bars and restaurants before and after the many concerts held at Music Hall.

The two new, smaller halls are also essential. The current performance space inside the Hall is simply too massive to feature new and smaller works. The addition of the smaller halls will give real versatility in programming to the tenants of Music Hall, and could also mean more revenue from rental of the venue.

Finally, the opening of the exterior windows of the Hall will have the most dramatic impact on the feel that the building has to the outside community – those that do not regularly attend concerts in Music Hall. Often, the appearance of Music Hall in its current state can be imposing, dark, and to be honest a little scary. By opening up all of the windows, the building will appear more welcoming, bright, and airy. I think it will have a big impact on diminishing the intimidation that many people have in entering the hall.

Overall, I am very excited to see Music Hall restored and revitalized, and I think that those in charge of the renovations are on the right track. I think it will be amazing to see the transformation that this renovation will spark in Over-the-Rhine.


Artist’s rendering of the newly renovated Music Hall



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