Old Sol Productions, LLC, a music production and promotion company looking to build a music venue, is working on a proposal for the Manchester Development Corporation (MDC) to renovate the historic Rex Theater (Manchester, NH) and turn it into Old Sol Music Hall, Inc. The music hall would lease the building from Old Sol Productions and would operate the venue as a not for profit. Old Sol will be competing with other businesses in the local area for the facility.
The MDC purchased the historic Rex Theatre in January and is looking for a business to renovate and operate the former theater as a part of their ongoing mission to revitalize Manchester neighborhoods. The building is located on 23 Amherst Street in downtown Manchester, and its renovation could have a strong impact on the downtown area.
The MDC expressed in their request for proposals that they have “the goal of seeing it transformed into a venue for live music, theatre, movies, community events or another creative concept that will transform this building and improve Manchester’s downtown.” They are accepting proposals until Tuesday, March 15 at 4 p.m.
Manchester residents Matt and Jody Wilhelm, along with other members of Old Sol Productions, want to restore the theater and transform it into a positive social hub for the city. Their tagline, “More Than Music,” represents their vision for the music hall to give back to the greater Manchester community.
In a promotional video for the project, Matt Wilhelm said, “We saw firsthand the power of music to bring people together and make a difference in local communities around the world… this 350 seat not for profit performance space and community center would… [support] the greater Manchester community beyond just being a concert venue.”
Old Sol Music Hall would do three things to support its mission: donate $1 per ticket to a donor advised organization through their More Than Music Fund, organize a donation drive at every show, and facilitate pre-show service projects for student organizations, patrons, community members, and other civic groups.
Wilhelm also mentions in the promotional video that he hopes the Old Sol Music Hall would give millennials another reason to stay and live in New Hampshire after they graduate from college. As of right now, many college students do not remain in New Hampshire after they have obtained their degrees.
Old Sol Productions will be holding a Community Visioning Session from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 5 to hear from the residents of Manchester about their proposal. They are looking for qualitative and quantitative feedback, and are hoping to understand what greater Manchester residents are looking for in their proposed mid-size concert venue and community center.
The Community Visioning Session will take place in the New Hampshire Institute of Art French Building Auditorium at 148 Concord Street in Manchester. Click here to register.
Old Sol Productions’ proposal will compete with other businesses’ proposals for the site, and the MDC (in collaboration with the Manchester Economic Development Office, and under the direction of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen) will make a final decision sometime after March 15. Old Sol’s proposal complements MDC’s goal for it, and Old Sol has already secured commitments totaling over $350,000 to support the project.
The greater Manchester community will have to wait until after March 15 to see whose business proposal will be accepted, and to find out how the 75 year old Rex Theatre will be renovated.