• Cincinnati’s Music Hall Re-Opens on a High Note!

    October 12, 2017

    Last weekend, signs around Cincinnati read “Hello Gorgeous!” as the city celebrated the newly renovated Music Hall.

    Tourists and locals alike were abuzz with excitement over the re-opening of this important community asset. Thousands attended the Friday night concert and the community festival on Saturday, showing their deep love for this 1878 icon. And local partners put on quite a show for them complete with tours of the renovation, live performances, and a delicious recreation of Music Hall in the form of a cake.

    Some of the highlights of the renovation were mentioned in the press release published by 3CDC:

    • 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 Historic 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 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.

    For more information on Music Hall, you can read the entire press release here. And if you are local to Cincinnati, we recommend you stop by Music Hall and see it for yourself!

  • Music Hall Renovations Reach Halfway Mark

    January 18, 2017

    An rendering of the exterior of Cincinnati's Music Hall.

    photo by: Music Hall Revitalization Company

    As preservation and restoration work at Cincinnati's Music Hall reaches its halfway point, The Cincinnati Enquirer recently featured an extensive update on the project, including a fantastic photo gallery.

    New concrete floors have been poured in the Springer Auditorium, drywall is going in throughout the building and electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems are being installed. Yet there is still a long way to go before the hall, home to the city's largest performing arts organizations, is ready for its grand reopening in early October 2017. It is the most extensive rehab of the nearly 140-year-old structure in more than four decades, and it is exceedingly complicated.

    “The project is on time,” said Jeff Martin, vice president of project management, pointing to construction features during the hard hat tour of the building. “You can see electrical boxes and conduit and we’re already roughed in. The duct-work (overhead) is in. Crews are starting to put up drywall, and will quickly move into other finishes.”

    Part of the National Trust's Cincinnati Icons National Treasure project, work is also underway across town at Union Terminal. We will continue to update the progress on both structures here on SavingPlaces.org.

  • Cincinnati’s Music Hall Icon Now Saved!

    March 2, 2016

    Cincinnati holds a special place in my heart. More specifically, two buildings in Cincinnati hold special places in my heart. Let me explain.

    My first visit to the city was in June of 2014, when we named Cincinnati’s Union Terminal and Music Hall as National Treasures as two of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. When I saw these two buildings in person, I was blown away by the Art Deco wonder and the Venetian Gothic behemoth, both National Historic Landmarks. But how were they going to come up with the $300 million needed to properly restore these buildings for future generations?

    A little over a year and half later, these two buildings are no longer endangered, and I’m convinced that Cincinnati is well-deserving of its nickname of “the Queen City.” A path forward for Union Terminal was made clear in the fall of 2014, when Hamilton County voters approved a 0.25% sales tax for five years. Combined with historic tax credits, contributions from the State of Ohio, and philanthropic fundraising efforts, this funding will allow for the complete repair and restoration of Union Terminal. In fact, rehabilitation work has already begun.
    A rendering of the lobby of Cincinnati's Music Hall

    photo by: Music Hall Revitalization Company

    Once renovated, the lobby of Music Hall will be brighter and fresher.

    Though Music Hall wasn’t on the ballot, it’s been making progress, too—securing a $25 million State of Ohio catalytic tax credit, conducting private fundraising, and hiring a design team. This past Sunday, design concepts were revealed in the Cincinnati Enquirer, and it’s clear that Music Hall is on a path to success. Here are just a few highlights:

    • Improvements to Springer Auditorium (the main auditorium), designed to create a more intimate performance hall with better presence of sound. There will be fewer seats (but with more leg room) and new boxes added.
    • A new box office for Music Hall’s many resident companies (the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra, Cincinnati May Festival, Cincinnati Ballet, and Cincinnati Opera) will be installed, as will a new music library. Music Hall contains the world’s largest orchestra library (over 140 years of music), though right now the collected is scattered throughout the building.
    • New (and more) bathrooms. The lack of bathrooms was one of Music Hall’s most common complaints. In total, restroom fixtures will increase by 62%.
    • An overall more accessible building, including two new elevators, which will reach all levels of the building.
    • The bricked-up windows of Music Hall’s facade will be re-opened, allowing for more light inside, and removing some of the fortress-like exterior appearance. New accent lighting will be coming, too.
    A rendering of the auditorium inside Cincinnati's Music Hall.

    photo by: Music Hall Revitalization Company

    The revitalization includes a new auditorium with more leg room and new boxes, and with better acoustics.

    Smaller parts of the renovation to Music Hall have already begun; concerts and events will continue through May, when the building will be completely shut down until the fall of 2017. Of the total $135 million cost for the first major renovation in 40 years, about $5 million remains to be raised—you can learn more about those efforts here.

    Though the National Trust for Historic Preservation will now be wrapping up our work at both Union Terminal and Music Hall, we’ll be watching the rehabilitation in the years to come. I can’t wait to book my next trip to Cincinnati to celebrate when the work on these two buildings is done!

  • Music Hall Announces Details of Rehabilitation Plan

    September 15, 2015

    Yesterday, one of Cincinnati’s Icons shared big news with the community. Details about Music Hall’s long-anticipated rehabilitation were revealed, including the designers, timeline, and scope of work necessary to transform this beloved and historic venue into a state of the art performance space. In June of 2016, Music Hall will close for a $129 million facelift, re-opening in the fall of 2017.

    The design team will include Martinez + Johnson Architecture, Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel (PWWG), Akustiks, and Schuler Shook. Among the major upgrades will be a restored front façade including a re-opened rose window; a reconfigured Springer Auditorium; new patron amenities like foodservice and additional restrooms; and behind the scenes upgrades to scenery, paint shops, and dressing rooms.

    The project has secured $123 million in funding through a multi-layered, public/private funding strategy, including city and state funds, historic tax credits, and $53 million in private donations. Music Hall Revitalization Company (MHRC) is leading the effort to close the remaining $6 million funding gap.

    Congratulations to MHRC, the Cincinnati City Center Development Corporation, and the City of Cincinnati -- this is exciting news and a huge step forward towards a “save” for Music Hall!

  • Help Cincinnati’s Icons Reach the Finish Line

    May 1, 2015

    Over the past year, we have seen an incredible outpouring of support for Cincinnati’s Icons. Nearly 25,000 people from across the country have engaged with the National Trust’s campaign to save these historic buildings for future generations.

    We celebrated a huge win in November when Hamilton County voters approved a sales tax increase to support the rehabilitation of Union Terminal. However, Music Hall is still in need of critical preservation funding.

    Today, we’d like to share some great news –$57 million in private funding has been raised in support of Music Hall’s first rehabilitation in 40 years, including a recent major gift from the Lindner Family. The project is now only $10 million short of reaching its total goal, and you can help! Donations are being accepted online by the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

    It has been less than a year since Music Hall and Union Terminal were included on the National Trust’s annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. These icons have made remarkable progress. Now it’s time to show your support again and help Cincinnati’s Icons reach the finish line!

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