Norfolk-based Infinity Music Hall and Bistro is expected to open a 600-seat live music and restaurant venue at downtown Hartford’s Front Street next fall, with the help of state funding.
“Infinity Music Hall will be a great addition to our capital city, one that will complement the other top-notch entertainment venues,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said today, in announcing the successful live music venue’s expansion into Front Street, the second tenant of the entertainment district.
The $5.2 million project would follow the opening of a movie theater at Front Street, which is expected to open by early November.
The concert hall and restaurant would be located on Columbus Boulevard on Front Street’s northeast corner. The concert hall and restaurant would be located on Front Street on the northwest corner of the complex. (Updated at 12:34 p.m. on Thursday with corrected location.)
Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra said the new venue would “create the energy that’s meant to exist” on Front Street.
“I think there will be good synergy,” Segarra said of the Front Street businesses. “I’m glad to see it’s finally come to a place where we can embrace it.”
Hartford’s Infinity theater would include more than 9,100 square feet on a main level, with a mezzanine adding about 4,000 square feet. By comparison, the movie theater is almost 19,000 square feet.
The expansion is contingent on $1.3 million in state bond funding that has been requested by the state Department of Economic and Community Development. The bond commission is scheduled to vote on the request Oct. 3.
Jack Forchette, director of entertainment and business development for Infinity Hall, said the new venue will have a lot in common with the original: it will create an intimate feel for guests and the artists who play there.
“You won’t see chrome and mirrors,” he said. “We’re hoping for an actual reproduction of what we do in Norfolk.”
He described the Norfolk setting as “acoustically pristine” and likened it to “a modern day Troubadour or Whisky A Go Go” — two intimate musical venues in West Hollywood that have featured top artists.
“When this gets done, it’s going to be very cool,” Forchette said.
The Hartford location will feature the same variety of musical guests, ranging from the smaller, lesser known bands to popular artists.
LeAnn Rimes, Phoebe Snow and Kevin Costner and the Modern West are some of the artists who have played at Infinity Hall.
Once the Hartford location opens, Forchette said, he hopes to book musical guests who will play at both venues.
“Artists who play much bigger venues for more money come here all the time,” he said. “What we’re hoping to bring to Hartford is exactly that. Let’s say there’s two bands. I’m hoping one plays in Norfolk one night and in Hartford the next, and the other plays in Hartford one night and Norfolk the next.”
Suzanne Hopgood, chairwoman of the Capital Region Development Authority, said Wednesday that the convention center was a deciding factor in both the movie theater and Infinity Hall leases. She also said an announcement would soon be forthcoming on a third tenant, a restaurant. She declined to comment on reports that Capital Grill was the likely tenant.
Dan Hincks, Infinity Hall’s president said the venue “is delighted to establish its second location for intimate concerts and creative cuisine at the Front Street Entertainment District in Hartford — and are thrilled to be a part of Hartford’s renaissance.”
The 300-seat Infinity Hall location in Norfolk has hosted more than 900 shows and served over 100,000 patrons since first opening in 2008.
“We are dedicated to bringing the best music in the world, of all genres to a high quality concert hall in a relaxed environment,” Hincks said. “We have become known for our pristine acoustics, our friendly staff and our first rate restaurant at our Norfolk location. We look forward to bringing those same high standards of quality to Front Street Hartford location as well.”