Looking southwest at the future Austin Music Hall
CONSTRUCTION TIME AGAIN
One year from now, if all goes according to plan, watching a show at the Austin Music Hall
will be a significantly different experience. Last Tuesday, owner Direct Events
and developer Andrews Urban
announced plans for a $5 million interior and exterior renovation of the 12-year-old venue. "It's a great opportunity to capture a lot of the talent that we as a company, and possibly Austin, have not had the opportunity to bring in," says Direct Events owner Tim O'Connor
. The overall square footage will increase from 22,000 to 42,000, mostly vertically, nearly doubling the capacity for seated shows some permanent seats will be installed and bringing the general-admission cap from 3,000 to "somewhere in the fours." Additional plans call for a mezzanine level, a larger stage, no floor obstructions, better air conditioning, more bathrooms and alcohol points-of-sale, and a three-story "chimney" that will allow curtains, backdrops, and scenery. "We're not trying to become a legitimate theatre, but we will have the base line of a legitimate theatre," says O'Connor. Direct Events is also talking with several local restaurateurs about a two-level eatery that will be open all the time and serve to-go food during concerts. "We're not talking about hot dogs here," notes O'Connor. Exterior renovations include large glass windows and alcoves featuring statues of local artists. Groundbreaking is planned for Jan. 1, and O'Connor says construction will happen in phases to allow the Music Hall to remain open during events such as SXSW.