The owners of Webster Hall filed several construction permits this week paving the way for the start of the renovation of the music venue, which has seen little action since it shuttered in August.
On Thursday morning, the landmarked Webster overhang that had welcomed the city’s teens and budding performers since 1886 served as a haven from the snow for the homeless. Bags of garbage sat by the steps, snow piled up on partitions and the marquee remained vacant. Though construction workers were visible on 11th Street for neighboring apartments, there were little signs of change at Webster.
The new permits, filed with the NYC Department of Buildings between Dec. 11 and Dec. 14, detailed plans to alter the venue’s total occupancy, install a new elevator and move forward with the demolition of the storied interior.
Martinez & Johnson Architecture, the company that has restored several venues including Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, Paramount Theatre in Iowa and the Cincinnati Music Hall, will be doing the work on the building, according to the documents.
The face-lift at Webster “was supposed to be a short closure for minor renovations,” former VP of concerts Heath Miller said in August. The “short-term closure” became long-term and the staff was told to expect the venue to reopen in about 18 months, he added.
The new owners, Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment and AEG Presents, did not have an updated timeline available.
Planned work to the venue includes transforming the existing Marlin concert room, one of five party spaces in the venue, into a waiting room. Miller was also told the new owners were eyeing to reopen with a heavy focus on concerts instead of club nights and parties.
Accepting the change, former director of operations Gerard McNamee remained hopeful the renovation wouldn’t take away from the venue’s “historic charm.”
“[The new owners] will embrace the history and character and they’re going to improve on it. She’s an old gal. She needed a face-lift,” McNamee said before the venue shuttered. “We might lose a bit of our street cred, but I think it’s going to be a beautiful thing.”
With Rajvi Desai