In December, a capacious new concert venue will open in a historic space on North Broad Street and is being hyped as "Philadelphia's largest non-arena facility" and "the future of live entertainment in the city."
That venue is the Met Philadelphia, the newly branded name of the former Metropolitan Opera House that was built by impresario Oscar Hammerstein I in 1908.
The 110,000-square-foot space, which takes up an entire city block at Broad and Poplar Streets, is being remade into a posh showplace in a $56 million partnership between concert promoter Live Nation, developer Eric Blumenfeld, and the Holy Ghost Headquarters church, the most recent inhabitant, who also owns a stake in the building.
So when it opens, what's The Met going to look like inside?
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On Tuesday, renderings by the Center City architecture firm Atkin Olshin Schade were revealed of the interior of the grand building, which has a stage big enough to host full-court basketball games.
The computer-generated peeks inside show off the building's adaptability. The Met will have a peak capacity of 3,500 — making it about 1,000 bodies bigger than the preponderance of the Philadelphia market's midsize spaces, such as the Fillmore, Electric Factory, Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center, the Academy of Music and Tower Theatre in Upper Darby. But, as the renderings show, The Met will be able to cater to cushy-chaired crowds in reserve-seating settings, while also opening up the floor to general-admission crowds for rowdier rock, R&B, and dance music acts, and adapting a tables-and-chairs floor plan for awards shows and supper club-style attractions.
Along with concerts, The Met plans to host "large Cirque or theatrical productions" under its 100-foot-high ceiling, as well as corporate events and boxing matches. In addition to the main room, there are lots of other more-intimate spaces throughout the vast building.
Images have been released of the main lobby with its to-be-restored original terrazzo floor and the classy looking Grand Salle, with chandeliers hanging from its barrel vault ceiling. That upstairs room with serve as a preshow and postshow lounge, with food by chef Jean Marie-Lacroix's Brulee Catering.
Two shows at the Met have been announced so far, not as grand-opening events, but they are representative of the kind of shows that are planned to keep the Francisville building busy throughout the year. They are English songwriter James Bay on March 9 of next year and Dancing With the Stars hoofer Derek Hough on June 14. Tickets for both shows are on sale on Ticketmaster.
Expect more marquee names to be announced in the coming months to make a bigger splash when the venue opens this winter, probably with large-drawing acts playing multiple nights. When plans for The Met's revival were announced in 2017, local Live Nation head Geoff Gordon mentioned Jill Scott, Kevin Hart, and Mary J. Blige as potential headliners.