The Anthem Opens

October 12, 2017

The Wharf DC, the much anticipated $2 billion development along D.C.’s Southwest waterfront, begins its grand opening celebrations tomorrow. Alongside more than a dozen restaurants and considerable retail space, the development will be a music hub with three new venues opening.

Union Stage, from the team at Jammin’ Java, and Pearl Street Warehouse offer more intimate settings, but it’s The Anthem, the venue from I.M.P.—the company behind the 9:30 Club—that is anchoring the entire development. The room hosts its grand opening tomorrow with a sold-out Foo Fighters performance.

“We’ve been looking for the next step up from the 9:30 Club probably for fifteen years,” says Donna Westmoreland, I.M.P.’s chief operating officer. “We looked at every space and every existing building that could be re-purposed in the D.C. area.”

Westmoreland and Seth Hurwitz, chairman of I.M.P., became aware of the waterfront project in 2010, and also caught wind of a need for an arts/cultural anchor tenant. Hurwitz contacted PN Hoffman, the principal developer, and the partnership began. The company had already been toying with the idea of focusing on local restauranteurs and retailers to occupy the space, so the idea resonated of having an independent, local promoter establish a performance space.

The result of this seven-year collaboration is a $60 million, 57,000 square-foot space that can hold between 2,500 and 6,000 people depending upon its configuration. This flexibility was a key component to the plans because I.M.P. has had to rent spaces ranging from Strathmore to the Patriot Center, and The Anthem had to be able to cover the gamut.

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