TempleLive Acquires Historic Columbus Athenaeum Theater

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COLUMBUS, OH – MAY 18: Columbus Athenaeum on May 18, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

Venue operator and promoter TempleLive has acquired the Athenaeum theater in Columbus, Ohio, following an all-stock transaction that closed Dec. 1.

“We are thrilled to add the Athenaeum to our operational footprint,” said Rob Thomas, president of TempleLive. “Columbus is an exciting market with a vibrant music scene. We look forward to bringing amazing concerts and events to this well-known and historic venue.” Thomas is relocating to Columbus following the announcement.

Already booked to play the venue are The Irish Tenors (March 24), comedian Jim Breuer (April 20) and Rodrigo y Gabriella (May 15).

TempleLive is known for owning and operating former Masonic temples, currently operating venues in Cleveland, Wichita and Fort Smith. Operating as multi-room concert venues, the company hosts regular touring artists and restores, preserves, and revitalizes these historic buildings. TempleLive invested more than $8 million into renovations of the Cleveland Masonic Temple in 2023.

“The Athenaeum’s rich history and architectural beauty make it a notable venue in the Midwest,” said Justin Bridgwater, senior talent buyer at TempleLive . “The Athenaeum will soon be a sought-after destination for popular artists from diverse genres.”

Venues within the Atenaeum include the 2,500-capacity Olympia Ball Room, 1,700 cap Main Theatre (half seated, half pit), 650-cap Small Theatre and 300-cap Pine Room Lounge.

Thomas tells Pollstar that TempleLive looks to continue the building’s relationship with Tim Eddings at Celebrity Etc. Presents, who has “done a fantastic job bringing great shows to the building over the last 10 years.”

Built in 1899, the Athenaeum was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, the same year it was restored by Columbus native Mark Aalyson.

The Athenaeum has primarily functioned as an event and wedding venue in Columbus, which it will continue to do while bringing national touring acts, local bands and comedy shows. The goal is to bring 100 performances to Columbus annually, the announcement says.

“As we continue to expand venue operations in the central U.S., having anchor venues in both the Cleveland and Columbus markets improves our routing for artists,” Thomas added. “And because of the way these historic Masonic temples were constructed, there are multiple theaters and performance rooms of various sizes within each venue, providing artist reps and agents with the flexibility to book smaller acts as well as their more established clients. This model has worked well for us in our other markets.”