The Delmar Loop is getting a new concert venue from the same team behind the Pageant.
Patrick Hagin and Joe Edwards, the partners who in 2000 opened the Pageant, are planning to open Delmar Hall in the fall.
The 10,000-square-foot space, expected to cost $2.5 million, will focus on concerts, comedy and private events, much like the Pageant.
Delmar Hall will occupy the space at 6133 Delmar Boulevard, next to the Pageant in the space currently used by Big Shark Bicycle Co. Edwards owns the building along with the Pageant and Blueberry Hill buildings and more. Big Shark will close in mid-April and move to Richmond Heights in the former Hi-Fi Fo-Fum space.
“This is going to be very meaningful to bands around the country and to music fans in St. Louis,” Edwards said of Delmar Hall. “To have this medium-size venue is really important.”
Hagin and Edwards say the 800-capacity venue will fill the gap between the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill (350 capacity) and the Pageant (2,000-plus capacity).
The partners envision a scenario in which a band could start out playing the Duck Room, move up to Delmar Hall on its next visit, then graduate to the Pageant. “It’ll be desirable for bands as their career moves upward,” Edwards said.
Delmar Hall has about the same capacity as St. Louis venues the Ready Room and the Old Rock House. Regardless of any current venue, Hagin said Delmar Hall would have an impact.
“St. Louis is an expanding market for music, and there’s room for everybody,” he said. “If your venue is well run and you have dedicated ownership and treat the public and artists the way they should be treated, I think you’ll be fine. Provide a first-class place, and they’ll enjoy it. We’re treating it seriously but want to have fun at the end of the day.”
St. Louis Alderman Lyda Krewson supports the arrival of Delmar Hall.
“I think it’s exciting for the city to have a midsize music venue like that, and the Loop is the perfect spot for it, where we all come together to enjoy food, music, drink and each other,” Krewson said. “I think it completes the circle for music venues in St. Louis.”
The building will be renovated with a stage, box office, green room, hospitality area and patio. There will be two tiers on the floor and no balcony.
The adjustable setup will have seating, tables and stools, depending on the show.
Groundbreaking and construction are expected to start in April.
Hagin and Edwards said their dream show at the venue would be a reunion of alt-country group Uncle Tupelo. They have thought about opening a venue of this size nearly as long as the Pageant has been around.
“Once Mississippi Nights closed, it was like, ‘How could we do this, and where could we do it?’ ” said Hagin, who was the manager/talent buyer at Mississippi Nights. “But it never got beyond the back burner.”
Early last year, they considered the idea more seriously when they heard rumblings of Big Shark’s moving.
The venue comes at a time when the Delmar Loop has been making more headlines for what’s leaving than what’s coming. Recent months have seen St. Louis Bread Co. and Smoothie King depart, and Good Works furniture store before that. Some critics have blamed the closings on construction of the new 2.2-mile Loop Trolley and traffic and parking hiccups associated with it. Edwards, chairman of the board for the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District, said “that may be a little bit disingenuous.”
“Rather than address their own business model, they’re just throwing that out there,” he said. “It’s an easy target. People blame the trolley because it’s easy.”
The trolley is expected to start rolling late this year or early 2017, he said.
An additional parking lot will not be built for Delmar Hall. Patrons will be encouraged to park in the surrounding parking lots and along Delmar Boulevard.
“We’ve been named one of the 10 great streets in America. This will add to its legacy,” Edwards said.
St. Louis Post Dispatch © February 2016