Grand Rapids’ new downtown entertainment and housing complex opened its doors to the public Wednesday, including the much-talked-about, 200-seat Listening Room. Story, photos, video.
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The arrival of any major development in downtown Grand Rapids always creates a buzz, but few projects have matched the hubbub surrounding the new Studio Park theater, housing, retail and music complex south of Van Andel Arena.
The $180 million Studio Park threw open its doors to the public Wednesday in an eye-popping, invitation-only grand opening party that gave hundreds of gawkers a sneak peek into downtown’s newest jewel, including the glitzy, 200-seat, second-floor Listening Room that’s already booked several months of shows — from acoustic singer-songwriters to jazz, rock and vocal ensembles.
With a nine-screen movie theater, apartments, retail space, parking ramp, hotel, restaurant and office space — some of which is still being completed — Studio C at 123 Ionia Ave. SW covers a lot of ground, and Wednesday’s dazzling premiere (which even boasted a red carpet) drew a who’s who audience of attendees clearly smitten by the unique development.
From The Verve Pipe’s Brian Vander Ark to WLAV-FM’s Tony Gates and WYCE-FM’s Hayes Griffin to various public officials, attendees wandered the sprawling development and its varied attractions, sampled beverages, snagged snacks from food trucks, watched the lavish, official ribbon-cutting ceremony, snapped photos with League of Enchantment super heroes who roamed the halls, and otherwise experienced the multi-dimensional vibe of the entertainment complex.
Of course, for West Michigan musicians and music fans, the intimate and swanky Listening Room serves as one of the development’s main attractions, touted as a singular acoustic experience with top-drawer sound that operations manager Quinn Mathews insisted would offer a setting unlike any other to “appreciate the art of music.”
To that end, Wednesday’s sneak peek showcased a brief performance on the Listening Room stage by singer-guitarist Kate Pillsbury, of Grand Rapids folk-rock band The Crane Wives, with a packed audience sampling the stellar acoustics of the venue for the first time.
Concerts officially start later this month when northern Michigan singer-songwriter Joshua Davis plays a benefit for Heartside Ministry on Oct. 17 ($20, available online here), with the Listening Room’s “official” grand opening blitz in early November.
David Wax Museum and Heather Maloney perform on Nov. 6, Matthew Perryman Jones on Nov. 7 and renowned singer-songwriter David Bazan — playing two straight nights — on Nov. 8 and 9. Get tickets and details for all of these shows online at listeningroomgr.com.
Local Spins will also host a monthly “Michigan Mondays” concert series at the Listening Room featuring artists from across the Great Lakes State (but outside Grand Rapids), starting with a special Time Out concert on Nov. 25 starring Savannah Buist and Katie Larson of Traverse City’s The Accidentals, Stephie James and Megan Slankard. Keep following Local Spins for more information about this series in coming weeks.
Also on the bill in November: Kittel & Co. (Nov. 13), The Hot Sardines (two shows on Nov. 14), Fareed Haque and Goran Ivanovic (Nov. 15) and West Michigan’s own Cameron Blake (Nov. 16).
VIDEO: Studio Park Grand Opening: A Video Tour (10/2/19)
PHOTO GALLERY: Studio Park/Listening Room (10/2/19)