Cincinnati’s Music Hall Officially Reopens After Major Renovation

Posted on October 6, 2017 by aatkinson

Occasion Celebrated with Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

CINCINNATI (October 6, 2017) – Music Hall Revitalization Company (MHRC), Cincinnati Arts Association (CAA), the City of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC), Music Hall’s Resident Companies, the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall (SPMH), and project partners gathered on the front steps of Music Hall this morning to celebrate the grand reopening of one of the City’s most beloved cultural icons. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to officially reopen the Hall, marking the completion of the $143 million, 16-month renovation.

Originally built in 1878, the National Historic Landmark had been in dire need of significant functional upgrades for decades. In 2014, Music Hall was included on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Places. With the reopening of the building today, the Hall can officially be considered “saved.”

“Music Hall has come a long way in a short time,” said Jennifer Sandy, senior field officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “When we named Music Hall, along with Union Terminal, one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, it had reached a critical point where it needed substantial reinvestment. Thanks to the hard work and determination of this community, Music Hall has been beautifully restored and will be enjoyed for generations to come.”

The renovation touched every area of the 139-year-old iconic structure – making it the first comprehensive update of the building in more than 40 years. Much care was taken to preserve and restore the historical aspects of Music Hall, while simultaneously blending in modern upgrades and amenities.

Features of the renovated Hall include new seating in Springer Auditorium, additional restrooms, new elevators and concession areas, a larger stage which extends farther into the auditorium, and much more. While countless historical details were restored, the greatest changes can be seen inside Corbett Tower, where a drop ceiling was removed to reveal an additional 14 feet above. The vaulted ceiling featured an intricate stenciling pattern that has been carefully recreated, and formerly bricked-over windows have been opened up to provide stunning views of Washington Park across the street. In addition, brick staining on the building’s façade has returned the Hall’s exterior closer to its original appearance.

Dozens of organizations collaborated to make the renovation happen. A complicated financing structure was necessary to make the project possible, which included funding in the form of state and federal historic tax credits provided by AIG Global Real Estate, U.S. Bank Community Development Corporation, and First Financial Bank; bridge loans from U.S. Bank, PNC Bank, and Fifth Third Bank; multi-year philanthropic pledges; and dozens of other major philanthropic donors. Additional funding was provided in the form of capital grants from the City of Cincinnati and State of Ohio, and through a Historic Preservation catalytic tax credit through the Ohio Development Services Agency. MHRC spearheaded the private fundraising campaign, with assistance from fundraising consultant Ignite Philanthropy.

3CDC served as the developer on the renovation project, with Messer Construction as the construction manager. The design team was comprised of Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel (PWWG), Martinez + Johnson Architecture, Schuler Shook, Akustiks, Pennoni Associates Inc., THP Limited Inc., Judy Williams, Division 2 Interiors, FRCH Design Worldwide and Bayer Becker. SPMH also contributed expertise and funding to restore many historical elements throughout the Hall.

Music Hall is owned by the City of Cincinnati and leased to MHRC, which contracts with CAA to manage the building. The hall is home to five resident companies – Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops, May Festival, Cincinnati Opera, and Cincinnati Ballet.

Friday’s ribbon-cutting event was the first in a series of grand reopening events scheduled. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is performing Grand Opening Weekend concerts on both Friday and Saturday nights. Tomorrow, Oct. 7, beginning at 9:30 AM, the community is invited to attend the Official Opening Ceremony for Music Hall. The ceremony will include a trumpet fanfare and speeches by key community representatives and leaders of all five resident companies. Following the ceremony, attendees are invited to spend the day as ArtsWave hosts the Re(New)ed Celebration for Music Hall from 10 AM until 3 PM. The events are free and open to the public, and will feature 50+ performances and tours of the newly renovated Hall.

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