A new music venue is coming to downtown Lansing.
RBM Properties, LLC, a property management company, is proposing a $400,000 renovation to 224 S. Washington Square, according to an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act application letter submitted to City Council.
The building, which was constructed in 1915 as the Knapp's department store, has been used for a variety of purposes over the years. Most recently, it was the home of the Blue Night Hookah Lounge, and before that, it was a nightclub. The building has been vacant since 2018.
The venue aims to be "one of the most popular and storied music and performance venues in the Midwest," according to the documents submitted to City Council. The venue will host both live and streamed performances and be equipped to record performances.
The venue plans to book a variety of genres, including pop, rock, classic rock, R&B, hip hop, country, bluegrass, folk, Latin and jazz. Comedy performances also will be held at the venue.
Instead of operating as a nightclub when there aren't performances, the facility will be available to rent for private functions like weddings, meetings and corporate events.
Developers estimate the space will have capacity for 600 general admission attendees or 250 people seated at tables, according to documents submitted to City Council.
"There is no venue within the Lansing-East Lansing [metropolitan area] of this size, which provides a comparable experience, including the in-house production elements, to a broad array of audiences," the OPRA application states.
This isn't the only music venue being developed in downtown Lansing.
Last fall, the city received $2 million from the state to move forward with building a performing arts center, a project that has been in the works for more than two decades. No decision has been made on where the performing arts center will be located, but it's intended to serve as a year-round venue for concerts, the public media center and the performance space for the Lansing Symphony Orchestra.
The renovation of 224 S. Washington Square is still in its early phases, so developers are not ready to share additional details about their plans.
"We are still in the beginning phases of renovations so not much to comment on at this point," said Jenna Meyers of MiEntertainment Group, a Michigan-based concert promoter behind the project that has also worked on Lansing's Common Ground Music Festival. "We are excited to share more in the coming months about the future of 224 Washington Square."
Developers estimated that the renovated venue will bring in an average of 50,000 people into Lansing annually and generate $12 million in annual economic activity.
"I worked closely with my economic development team and the Downtown Lansing Inc. to ensure this project would move forward," Mayor Andy Schor said in a written statement. "I look forward to more details being announced soon for this space that will complement our future live music venue and bring more energy and excitement to downtown Lansing.”
According to the OPRA application, the project is expected to be completed in late 2022.
"The rehabilitated property will be the starting point for a revitalization of arts and culture in downtown and greater Lansing," developers said. "The cultural impact of these venues on local communities is priceless."
Contact reporter Elena Durnbaugh at (517) 231-9501 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @ElenaDurnbaugh.
This article originally appeared on Lansing State Journal: Music venue coming to original downtown Lansing Knapp's store