The restoration of historic Phenix Hall will bring back Phenix Hall as a vibrant venue in the ongoing renaissance of Concord’s downtown. Built in 1855 it was the preeminent place for the community to congregate for events of every kind for almost a century. Whether it be for concerts, plays, speeches, parties, weddings, horticultural fairs, boxing matches or even some prominent funerals, Phenix Hall was the community gathering place. And of course, it’s two more notable occasions when President Lincoln spoke in Phenix Hall in 1860, and President Roosevelt in 1912.
After restoration, Phenix Hall will once again become a premier venue in the heart of Concord’s downtown as a music hall/function hall. The Phenix will have a commercial kitchen and a beer and liquor license with a backdrop of a magnificent antique Brunswick back bar built in 1900. The back bar is an outstanding work of craftsmanship which is 36 feet long with six columns and will be a focal point of the room. The plan is for The Phenix to be open to the public Wednesday thru Saturday nights as a music hall, having live music every night it is open. A high-quality restaurant will be an important component of The Phenix’s business plan. Patrons will be able to come for after work drinks or dinner in a renovated hall with a rustic elegance, listening to great music while dining on tasty offerings from the menu. After work and dinner hours will likely be a solo acoustic musician or a piano player performing on The Phenix’s in-house grand piano. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights there will be full bands to satisfy music lovers with a great dance floor in front of the stage. The music will be many different genres consisting of blues, classic rock, and country with jazz and folk nights as well. Occasional comedy nights are another possibility. The full menu will still be available when the bands hit the stage with a more limited menu later in the evening. The balcony level will have its own bar for those that want to enjoy great music from that vantage point. These nights will not be pre-ticketed events but instead be a cover charge at the door. Whether you want to plan a night in advance or be spontaneous, The Phenix will always be there for great food and music.
On Sunday thru Tuesday The Phenix will be available as a unique venue for events of all types. Whether it be a private party or any other type of event The Phenix will provide a flair with character like no other in central New Hampshire. I also expect The Phenix to be in very high demand as a wedding venue. Couples are increasingly looking for unique venues with character for their special day. The Phenix with its stage, dance floor, full kitchen and its amazing bar to complement the existing character of the hall make for a setting made to produce a fabulous wedding day with memories that will last forever. Saturday is of course the preferred day of the week for weddings. The hope is that couples will have a ceremony around the noon to one timeframe with the reception starting around 2. The wedding party will have hall to themselves until 5 or 6 when The Phenix will open to the public for the evening. The wedding party is welcome to stay for as long as they would like with the newlyweds still being the toast of the evening. Obviously if The Phenix is booked for a Sunday wedding they will have the venue for the entire day and will have the freedom to plan their day as they wish. It will be important that the hours of the four days The Phenix is open to the public be consistent, so it is known when one can come for dinner and music.
It is expected that The Phenix will also once again become a place for political events, including presidential politics during our first-in-the-nation primary cycle every four years. Neil Levesque, the executive director of the New Hampshire Institute for Politics has said that when renovated he would love to hold town hall meetings with presidential candidates. These town hall meetings would be covered by CNN and other networks and would be broadcast live from Phenix Hall. Imagine CNN panning our Main Street as they broadcast it nationally. The national exposure would be phenomenal for the city.
The longer-term master plan is to demolish the CVS building abutting the new addition to Phenix Hall and replace it with a 5-story building. This will simultaneously eliminate one of downtown’s least attractive buildings and at the same time restore a large gap in the downtown skyline which was created by the 1956 fire that ended the existence of the Phenix Hotel. On the roof of this building will be a living roof top deck adding another unique venue to complement Phenix Hall. This roof top deck will have an incredible 360-degree view of the city, including the State House dome, beautiful church steeples, and the Merrimack river. Imagine adding roof top dining, weddings and other functions on a roof top venue like this. Together with Phenix Hall it will be a dynamic combination for the city. It is important to note that this building is not part of the current renovation but is a part of the fully implemented vision for the project.
The loaners’ packet includes a pro forma with annual revenue numbers. These were based on estimates on the numbers of nightly patrons. It is important to remember that these were done to project the viability of the project. The repayment of loaners is not dependent on achieving these numbers as my personal commitment is to refinance in five years in order to repay all loaners and make up any shortfall by selling assets.
The Phenix will be a unique venue for several different types of events making it the newest hot spot in the city. The Phenix will also be the only place in Concord where you can enjoy great food while listening to music in a hall with excellent acoustics. The amazing potential of Phenix Hall holds too much promise to not become a reality.