It’s not just about the arts, we believe this project will help speed up the revitalization of the core of the city.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (PRWEB) July 30, 2019
A beloved Harrisburg landmark is poised for a rebirth that will create new jobs, enhance the burgeoning art scene and provide a welcome boost to the local economy. Construction is underway at Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center (H•MAC), the historic 34,000 sq. ft. multi–venue arts, dining and entertainment complex located at 1110 N. 3rd Street that is undergoing a complete interior and exterior reboot. Fueled by a recent infusion of capital and a million dollar state redevelopment grant, the new ownership has renewed the vision — to pump new energy and spur economic development in the neighborhood.
Leading the charge are partners in the recently formed H•MAC Venue LLC, which includes music memorabilia collector Chris Werner of Lifetime of Autographs; Chuck London, a former network TV producer and executive; and Javier Diaz, a former investment banker and owner of the New York-based Wings Air Helicopters. “It’s not just about the arts, we believe this project will help speed up the revitalization of the core of the city,” said Werner.
Plans call for a revamped music and dining concept, as well as extensive renovations and restoration of the 150-year-old property. “H•MAC is the final piece of the Third Street Reinvestment Plan from 1984, and we’re excited to be the architectural firm guiding the transition of the historic property,” said Harrisburg native Bret Peters, who is a Principal at the Office for Planning and Architecture (OPA). “The good news is that this sets the stage for 3rd Street to really come back and serve the region in a positive way. The building itself is meant to be a DMZ — a safe space for people to come and enjoy performance, music and fine art. There’s nothing like that in the area, so it’s an exciting mission.”
Smarter Design Group, a minority-owned locally based construction company led by Jonathan Thomas, has been hired to complete the project. Renovations to the façade and roof are currently underway, but plans call for a massive overhaul of four spaces over the next couple of months: the basement swimming pool will be converted into a dance club named The Deep End; the existing Stage on Herr will be completely retooled and renamed Stage Right; the Capitol Room (2nd floor ballroom) will undergo extensive renovations and will add a new balcony and private entertaining space; and The Kitchen & Gallery Bar will be completely upgraded and renamed The Green Room.
“We’re bringing in a whole new culinary team for our restaurant, The Green Room, which will be led by Philadelphia-based chef consultant JT Hearn. JT and his team will feature locally-sourced, ‘clean eats’ and a deliciously reimagined new menu of unique and surprising additions,” said Werner. For example, a premium lobster roll will be available with a choice of upgrades such as caviar, CBD aioli and truffles, while burger lovers will have the option of adding seared foie gras atop their locally-sourced grass-fed beef. On the menu, Hearn’s “The Antidote,” is a CBD-infused cheesesteak that’s topped with two farm-fresh eggs, which Hearn refers to as “the ultimate hangover cure,” and will be a first for Harrisburg gourmands. The cocktail program will introduce PA Craft Spirits Sphere Cocktails to the city — alcohol-filled ice balls — another first for Harrisburg. The Sphered Old Fashioned and Manhattan are made with ice that’s molded into a sphere, filled with the drink’s ingredients and then cracked open with a mallet.
Over the coming months, H•MAC will experience the following:
- The Green Room restaurant will launch first, with the menu being rolled out in early August, and furniture and décor upgrades coming in September.
- Transformation of the former basement pool into a psychedelic dance floor named The Deep End. “It will be a throwback to the days of dance clubs, while bringing the best of EDM and dance music to Harrisburg,” said Werner. Local artists will create installations inside the pool, with view holes from above, accompanied by a light symphony.
- Conversion of the Stage on Herr to Stage Right, a 350-person capacity nightclub and gallery space will endure a total redesign of the room, including a wider performance stage, stadium seating and upgrades to the sound system.
- Upgrades to The Capitol Room, including a new balcony featuring an expansive private space, two additional bars, new bathrooms plus back-of-house upgrades that will include all new green rooms, kitchenettes, showers and a washer/dryer, which is always requested by the performing bands. The renovations in the mid-century art deco inspired ballroom will bring the capacity to 1,500, making it an ideal venue for concerts, parties, theatrical events, fundraisers and weddings. “We’re focused on bringing some big name national acts to our stage,” added Werner.
- Construction of a Rooftop Garden, which will be the setting for a new beer garden with 360º views of the Susquehanna River, capitol building, Center City and the Rockville Bridge.
“We’re really excited to finally complete this unique project which has been in the works for decades, and serve it up to the community for its enjoyment,” said Werner. When complete, H•MAC expects to employ 80 people and will be earmarking 10% of the profits for a variety of local charities. “It’s too early to announce which charities we’ll benefit in our first year, but we’re committed to donating 10% of all profits ongoing to Harrisburg-area non-profits,” said Werner. “H•MAC is finally going to be one of the community’s premier arts, entertainment and dining destinations, so the least we can do is set aside a portion of the capital we take in and donate to organizations that bring benefits to the city and to our community.”