I.M.P. Gets 40-Year Pact At Merriweather

I.M.P. has inked a 40-year lease for Merriweather Post Pavilion from the Columbia, Md., nonprofit that acquired ownership of the 20,000-capacity venue in November and has big plans for renovating and modernizing the Frank Gehry-designed facility.

Courtesy I.M.P.
– Merriweather Upgrade
Artists and crews will have good reason to get off the tour bus and head backstage at Merriweather Post Pavilion, which is installing a motel-like structure including pools, private rooms and lounges, and side-stage viewing platforms. I.M.P. has inked a 40-year lease to continue operating the historic venue, in the midst of a major renovation plan.

The Pavilion celebrates its 50th anniversary this season. I.M.P. has been at Merriweather Post Pavilion since then-owner Howard County tapped chairman Seth Hurwitz and his crew in 2004 to take over operation of the historic amphitheatre and grounds that, at the time, were in danger of being shuttered and torn down.

The company went to work upgrading the facility, adding art installations on the grounds and improving concessions, bathrooms and adding environmental features that all paid off with increased attendance and bookings.

The long-term lease between I.M.P. and the Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission was announced March 23, along with ambitious plans to further upgrade Merriweather – already in the third year of a five-year, $55 million renovation.

The venue now sports a new box office, concession areas, restrooms and, lighting and nearly 15,000 square feet of dressing rooms and backstage amenities.

A stage expansion and installation of an 82-foot-wide Brazilian Redwood floor with a 48-foot spinning turntable insert – enabling five-minute set changes – has also been completed, according to I.M.P.

Next up for the shed is a new backstage, designed to resemble a motel complete with a swimming pool, including a smaller private pool to accommodate artists’ families.

The facility will include motel-like rooms, a lobby and lounging areas, and multiple side-stage viewing platforms.