New Fillmore hopes to be another entertainment jewel in Fishtown’s crown

 Mayor Michael Nutter announces plans for the Fillmore Philadelphia, a live music venue that will ocupy the former Ajax Metal Factory in Fishtown. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Mayor Michael Nutter announces plans for the Fillmore Philadelphia, a live music venue that will ocupy the former Ajax Metal Factory in Fishtown. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

The nation’s largest concert promoter is opening a new venue in one of Philadelphia’s fastest-growing neighborhoods, and city officials are hoping it will help fuel the boom.

“Fishtown, Kensington, Port Richmond — these neighborhoods are on fire, from an economic development standpoint,” said Mayor Michael Nutter at today’s official announcement of Live Nation’s new venue in Fishtown. “This is a significant investment in the city.”

Live Nation officials say the plan for the new hall, dubbed the Fillmore Philadelphia, is for a “top-shelf” venue comparable to the Borgata in Atlantic City. The main hall will have room for about 2,500 people, with a smaller venue for up-and-coming acts, and a host of dining and entertainment options.

“Fishtown, the edge of Northern Liberties, it’s a great place to be right now,” said Live Nation’s Jeff Gordon. “It’s not just us. Everybody’s building stuff. You see all the houses around here, you see what Bart [Blatstein] did with the Piazza. It’s just a great area to be in, and we’ll be another jewel in that crown.”

Fishtown is already home to many of the city’s most popular smaller clubs. Gordon said he hopes the new will help boost the scene without hurting business at any other venues.

“It wasn’t too long ago, 10 to 12 years ago, that a guy named Steven Starr started opening a bunch of restaurants,” Gordon said, and everyone was asking, “‘How many does he have? How many does Vetri have? How many does Jose Garces have?’ When it used to be just Bookbinders, and Morton’s, did anybody take business away? No — it just  made the city more filled with other options.”

Among the new venue’s advantages: It sits in a transit sweet spot, just a few blocks from I-95, as well as trolley and subway stations, and even a new bike share dock. Nutter said the location will make it easy for the new venue to draw a regional audience.

“The great thing about Philadelphia is, more than 100 million people live within a day’s drive of the city,” he said. “It’s easy to get into — Delaware Avenue, right off of 95, all of that … the transportation network really works to our advantage.”

Nutter says the city hasn’t put any money into the new venue, which will be located in a renovated factory near the Delaware waterfront on Frankford Avenue. It’s expected to create about 150 jobs and open in the fall.

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