Webster Hall Probably Won’t Reopen Until 2020, and Possibly with a New Name
Webster Hall (nee The Ritz) closed down operations last week after nearly three decades in business. Action Bronson closed out the so-called “End of an Era” show on Thursday evening.
As previously reported, the Ballinger family, which owned and operated the concert hall for the last twenty-seven years, sold the business to a partnership consisting of AEG Live and owners of the Barclays Center (aka Brooklyn Sports Entertainment) for $35 million. What follows now is extensive construction and corporate makeover.
Esteemed MTV on-screen veteran John Norris filed an excellent report for Billboard on the final days of the club. In it, we learn that renovation period for the venue could last several years, and might not open until at least 2019. Plus, Webster Hall might not retain its name.
Exactly how long will Webster Hall be closed is uncertain, though don’t be surprised if renovations take more than two years—late 2019 or early 2020 has been a reported re-opening date. “The length of the renovation period has grown drastically from the original projections,” says booker Miller, who may retain a similar role under the club’s new ownership, but who remains optimistic about the future. “I’m sure it’s going to emerge a much cleaner and shinier place, which is good on many levels, like the bathrooms. I hope the energy, character and vibe that makes Webster Hall special remains intact.”
And what about its name? McNamee says he can’t believe the rumors that the new suits plan to take that away for a big naming rights payout. “I don’t see how it would make sense to change the name—what, ‘Spectrum Center’ or ‘Spectrum Hall’ or ‘Barclays Hall’ or ‘Bowery Hall’?” he says. “I’d be surprised—but who the hell knows?” He does know that he’s been honored to be part of a place that’s left an indelible mark on New York. “We’re a unique entity. We’re a historical and cultural landmark,” he concludes. “Whatever New York City brings, we have always been a major part of it.”