New Concert Hall Could Be Coming to Charlestown
A new concert hall could be coming to town. Located in Charlestown, the new venue will be able to seat 4,000 people, which makes the facility bigger than the Orpheum Theater or House of Blues but quite smaller than the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion. If the plan holds true, the HP Hood property on Rutherford Avenue will be soon converted into an extravagant entertainment center with an attached 775-car garage. Not only is the facility expected to greatly enhance the social scene of Hood Park, the exciting revitalization of the area could also play a profound role in attracting large businesses and improving the community outreach.
The current HP Hood property is set on the far western side of Charlestown. The 775-car parking garage will be positioned at the rear of the campus. A new residential building will be built in the empty space between the entertainment center and the neighborhood on 480 Rutherford Avenue. Real estate developers started on the residential project this past October, but other developments are set to begin upon total approval of the project.
The Boston Planning and Development Agency plays a major role in the layout of the new venue. The organization requires that recently built parking garages are equipped with retail and commercial spaces on the ground floor. Many residents thought that a large box store or something similar would be the chosen retail venue. But the new indoor facility will actually be home to a concert hall and a restaurant on the first floor. The entertainment center will take up about 75 percent of the entire floor while the remaining 25 percent of the space will be reserved for the restaurant where many attendees will have the opportunity to delight in the adult beverages that will be offered. The specific tenants who will occupy the space has not yet been released.
In order to ensure that nearby neighbors are not disrupted, the building will not have windows, but there will be double-acoustic panels. The real estate developers plan to make every effort to make sure that the sounds remain in the building at all times. The stage will be set on the side of the building that is closest to the interstate and recycling plant.
Many city officials and professionals in the arts community have expressed a great disappointment in the poor selection of spaces for the performing arts. The primary purpose of the new project is to address the community’s needs by significantly improving the local music scene. The 4,000-seat concert hall will be operated about 150 nights a year, but only 50 of those events will be completely sold out. The other events are expected to have between 1,500 and 3,000 vacated seats. The operator strongly believes that this mid-size venue is what’s truly missing in Charlestown.
Unfortunately, a project this big can’t come without any concerns. Since the new concert venue is expected to bring about 1,500 new trips to the area, traffic is definitely a major concern. A study that was recently conducted suggests that the area may have 50 less cars in the morning and 50 more cars in the late evening. One major consideration is that the bulk of the traffic will be between 7 pm and 11 pm, so other events like a Bruins or Celtics game should not be scheduled on the same night as a concert. City officials are unsure how the traffic will be managed, but it can be drastically reduced if attendees decide to walk, carpool or catch a ride with the MBTA on nights when they plan to attend an event. For perhaps the first time in the city’s history, potential traffic issues on certain days will be in the late evening as opposed to the early morning.
Some representatives of the plan also expect there to be a good amount of noise from concert goers who park on Baldwin Street. If people are loud as they exit the venue late at night, they could disrupt the residents as they are walking to their cars. The two policemen who will be placed at the Hood Campus and Rutherford Avenue may be able to monitor the noise level and other disruptive behaviors.
The new entertainment locale is not only for amusement purposes. As a major part of the evolution of the city, the facility will also be used to benefit the community. Many non-profit organizations like The Charlestown Working Theatre are welcomed to use the space for outreach causes. To further support their goal to serve the area, it’s likely that the center will also donate $1 of all its merchandise sales to a Charlestown Neighborhood Council or CNC-approved non-profit organization.
Other projects for the area include the construction of a large office building right adjacent to the massive building that will house the cars of the people attending the concert. The 775-car parking garage will also accommodate the vehicles from the new residential building on Rutherford Avenue and the new office building.
The Future of Charlestown is Bright
There is much in store for the arts and social community of Charlestown in the coming years. Instead of heading south to TD Garden, people should be able to attend a concert in the western part of the city. Since there is already a possible tenant for the new office building, the three projects need to be completed extremely quickly. Like the tenant for the entertainment complex, the name of the office building tenant has not been released. The possible tenant is requesting that the project is complete by 2020 so that it can move in. The ultimate goal is to have the residential building, new office, and parking garage/concert venue finished by December July 2019. The construction for the entertainment center and 775-car garage should begin in summer 2018. While it’s a lofty goal, real estate developers strongly believe that they can meet their deadline. The public review process for the entertainment center/garage and the large office building is expected to be completed in a few months.