Art Place, under construction by developer The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, plans to open a new performing arts venue and other elements to be designed and managed by London-based tvg hospitality, a 7-year-old venture launched by Ben Lovett, perhaps better known for co-founding British folk rock band Mumford and Sons in 2017. The news was announced at the ICSC retail conference currently underway in Las Vegas.
tvg hospitality will oversee the project’s overall design and development, while signing a long-term commitment for the performing arts venue and food and beverage spaces. Tvg has roped in Rockwell Group, led by Broadway aficionado and architect David Rockwell, to design the arts venue’s interiors, as well as those of Art Place’s planned culinary spaces and children’s museum.
When it’s fully built out, it will house 770 multifamily units, a 27,000-square-foot children’s museum, a 32,000-square-foot art museum, a 40,000-square-foot food hall and 215,000 square feet of retail, including an Aldi grocery store and a Onelife Fitness. The performing arts venue, expected to span 48,000 square feet and reach a standing capacity of 2,000 people, will be part of the second phase.
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Image Credit: The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation
Over three days, the new venue featured performances by Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Mavis Staples, Brittany Howard, Emmylou Harris, Drive-By Truckers, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, and Waxahatchee, plus local Huntsville talent such as Translee and Deqn Sue & Kelvin Wooten.
“The only way a venue like this happens is when you’ve got all the right cooks in the kitchen — people with their hearts in the right place,” White told Rolling Stone backstage. “It’s not about money. It’s not about capitalism. It’s about doing it for the right reasons.”
Huntsville has long been associated with its defense and aeronautics work at places like Redstone Arsenal and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, hence the amphitheater’s stargazing name. More recently, the city has been going through a cultural renaissance and construction boom as Alabama’s fastest growing city. For every new hotel, restaurant, and retail store popping up, there’s a construction crane hovering over another development site. The Orion is a bonus on top of it all.
“Building the Orion may seem random to people who have never been to Huntsville before,” says Ben Lovett, co-founder and keyboardist for Mumford & Sons who also serves as CEO of London-based venue development group TVG Hospitality. “But, when my band traveled to places that a lot of people would consider ‘random,’ we found that the most beautiful people and amazing examples of humanity exist in those places.”
Read full article on Rolling Stone
Photo credit: Josh Weichman