PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - The Met Philly officially opened its doors on Monday evening for its first performer, Bob Dylan.
City leaders joined developer Eric Blumenfeld, Live Nation Philadelphia Regional President Geoff Gordon, and Reverend Mark Hatcher of the Holy Ghost Headquarters for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday.
It marked the completion of the Met’s 56-million dollar renovation project at the corner of North Broad Street and Poplar Street.
Once the Metropolitan Opera House, the building was built back in 1908 by theatre entrepreneur Oscar Hammerstein. It eventually switched hands to the Holy Ghost Headquarters for worship, an effort to prevent the building from being demolished.
When the building’s upkeep became too much, Blumenfeld stepped in to renovate in a partnership with Live Nation, as well as Holy Ghost, under the agreement that they could continue worshipping there.
“It’s going to energize North Broad Street, one year from now you will not recognize this corridor,” says Blumenfeld. “We’re a church on Sunday, Bob Dylan on Monday and John Legend on Tuesday it’s ridiculous.”
“There was some thought that maybe we were continuing on the decline, but the residents in North Philadelphia hung in here and said no it’s going to come back, and it’s coming back,” says Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke.
Among Monday’s attendees were generations of the Hammerstein family.
“My brother came here 20 years ago, he saw the inside, he didn’t think they’d ever be able to save it,” says William Hammerstein. “I’ve been living with that presumption for all of these years, and now, this is a special place.”
The Met’s initial series of shows features many artists with ties to the Philadelphia-area including Ween on Friday, December 14th, PnB Rock on December 28th, and Kurt Vile and the Violators on December 29th.
Additional shows include John Legend on December 4th, Weezer on December 12th, and Pentatonix on December 15th and 16th. For more information, visit The Met Philly’s website.