Mayor Martin Walsh, along with Fenway Sports Group, broke ground on the MGM Music Hall on Nov. 22, which is set to open in 2021. The music hall will be operated in partnership with Live Nation, and will be located on the parcel of land at the corner of Landsdowne and Ispwich streets. Remarks were heard from Mayor Walsh, as well as executives with stakes in the venue.
The theater, which will be an indoor, four-story venue, will accommodate up to 5,000 patrons within 91,000 square feet.
“This is going to be one heck of a rock-and-roll venue,” said Sam Kennedy, President and CEO of the Red Sox. “Today’s groundbreaking signals an important new era in Fenway’s history, one where our group promises to apply the same thoughtfulness, care, collaboration, and we’ve tried to demonstrate in saving Fenway over these past two decades.”
Kennedy said that the vision for what he called “Fenway 3.0” is to make Fenway a destination for both visitors and residents across the city. Aside from providing entertainment, the MGM Music Hall “will also be a resource to our neighbors, and a space where our community can gather,” he said.
Mayor Walsh said that the venue will be a “welcome addition to the Boston music scene,” and reiterated that it will be a resource for people across the city, but especially for students and other young people. With the $124 million Boston Arts Academy rebuild happening right across the street, this venue will provide many opportunities for students in performing arts, he said.
“We want to make arts more accessible for everyone,” Mayor Walsh said. “We wanted to make sure that Boston’s a place where artists can thrive, stay here, live here, and work here. And we’re raising Boston’s national profile as a leader in music, theater, and all kinds of creative expression.”
Mayor Walsh spoke about his Boston Creates plan, which was devised to bring arts to neighborhoods across the city. Walsh thanked Fenway Sports Group for their “extensive community engagement,” and for their commitment to being good neighbors throughout the construction process and beyond. “To the residents of the neighborhood that are in this room, thank you very much as well for working this process through,” Walsh added. “We were able to have a great process, have a lot of conversations about it, and it’s something that we should look at as something enhancing this particular part of the neighborhood.”
Walsh said that the theater will create 200 new construction jobs, 500 permanent full-and-part time jobs, “and the benefits will be felt in the city and beyond for years to come.”
Tom Werner, Chairman of the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Sports Group, said that the goal was to “create a space that could be of service to our neighbors. With many renowned performing arts institutions in our neighboring vicinity, we knew an indoor, small-scale venue would not only be able to serve as a great live performance center, but also as a resource and gathering place for the many performing arts institutions in our city.”
Don Law, President of Live Nation New England, and Jim Murren, Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts, expressed their excitement to be partners in this project. “There is little doubt that this will absolutely be the best venue of its kind in the country and I think it will win a number of awards,” Law said.” He added that he believes its close proximity to the House of Blues (also partnered with Live Nation) will be beneficial as well.
Murren said that MGM “believes strongly that we need to invest in the communities in which we operate. We believe that our success and the community’s success are inextricably linked to one another.” He said that MGM’s goal is to “entertain the human race,” and it does so around the world through venues large and small.
“It’s projects like this that mean so much to us…,” Murren said. “to be able to add to the storied history of Fenway and to also continue to invest in the Commonwealth.”
Work on the venue will begin very soon, with construction vehicles expected to increase in the area. “Early phases of the project involves work inside the existing Garage Building itself, with trucks mostly making deliveries and removing debris,” according to a community newsletter from the Red Sox.