Concert Hall Comes to Original Lansing Knapp Downtown Store

A new concert hall is coming to downtown Lansing.

RBM Properties, LLC, a property management company, is proposing a $400,000 renovation at 224 S. Washington Square, according to an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act application letter submitted to the city council.

The building, which was built in 1915 as a Knapp department store, has been used for a variety of purposes over the years. More recently it was the home of the Blue Night Hookah Lounge, and before that it was a nightclub. The building has been vacant since 2018.

The venue aims to be “one of the most popular and celebrated music and performance venues in the Midwest,” according to documents submitted to the city council. The venue will host live and streaming performances and will be equipped to record performances.

The venue plans to book a variety of genres, including pop, rock, classic rock, R&B, hip hop, country, bluegrass, folk, Latin, and jazz. Comedy shows will also take place on site.

Instead of operating as a nightclub when there are no performances, the facility will be available for hire for private functions such as weddings, meetings and corporate events.

The developers estimate that the space will be able to accommodate 600 people in general admission or 250 people seated at tables, according to documents submitted to the city council.

“There is no place in the Lansing-East Lansing [metropolitan area] of this size, which offers a comparable experience, including in-house production elements, to a wide range of audiences,” the OPRA request states.

It’s not the only concert hall being developed in downtown Lansing.

Last fall, the city received $2 million from the state to move forward with construction of a performing arts center, a project that has been underway for more than two decades. No decision has been made on the location of the performing arts center, but it is intended to serve as a year-round concert venue, public media center and performance space for the Orchestra Lansing Symphony.

MORE: Lansing gets $2 million go-ahead for performing arts center in state budget

The 224 S. Washington Square renovation is still in its early stages, so developers aren’t ready to share any additional details about their plans.

“We’re still in the early stages of renovations, so not much to comment on at this point,” said Jenna Meyers of MiEntertainment Group, a Michigan-based concert promoter behind the project who has also worked on Common Ground Music. Lansing Festival. “We’re excited to share more in the coming months about the future of 224 Washington Square.”

Developers have estimated that the renovated site will attract an average of 50,000 people to Lansing each year and generate $12 million in annual economic activity.

“I have worked closely with my economic development team and Downtown Lansing Inc. to ensure this project moves forward,” Mayor Andy Schor said in a written statement. “I look forward to more details being announced soon for this space which will complement our future concert hall and bring more energy and excitement to downtown Lansing.”

According to the OPRA request, the project should be completed by the end of 2022.

“The rehabilitated property will be the starting point for a revitalization of arts and culture in the downtown area and throughout greater Lansing,” the developers said. “The cultural impact of these places on local communities is invaluable.”

Contact reporter Elena Durnbaugh at (517) 231-9501 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @ElenaDurnbaugh.

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