Harmony Project to Open Beacon Hall Venue in Franklinton
2013 has been an absolutely huge year for the neighborhood of Franklinton. Big announcements included relocation plans for the Idea Foundry, new Broad Street mixed-use infill, a groundbreaking on the new Orange Barrel HQ, the opening of the Wood.Metal.Art studio space, more development at 400 West Rich including nearly 100 artist studios and the Strongwater Bar and event space, new gateway features, new bike lanes, and of course… a massive redevelopment plan for the Scioto Peninsula, which will help bridge East Franklinton with Downtown Columbus.
If all of that wasn’t enough for one year, the news was officially announced last night that the Harmony Project will be forming a public-private partnership with the City of Columbus to renovate the old Greater Christ Temple at 79 McDowell Street into Beacon Hall, a new community-centric event venue that would also serve as the group’s new home.
“We don’t know a lot yet about the details, but we do have a programmatic business plan in place,” explains David Brown, Founder and Creative Director for the Harmony Project. “We’re not sure what it will take financially to repair the building, but we plan to get started in early 2014 so that we can move in early 2015.”
The 6,600 square foot building is located diagonally across State Street from the Idea Foundry’s new home and an empty lot where new apartments are preliminarily planned for development. Brown sees the neighborhood as the perfect place for a creative organization like his, which currently has offices in The Brewery District.
“We love the idea of being a part of a collective campus over there,” he says. “Franklinton is already on it’s way up, even without the Harmony Project. What we’ll be able to do is bring different parts of the community to the neighborhood beyond just the Downtown crowd and young crowd that already knows whats’s going on over there.”
Brown said that he was also excited to learn that the Greater Columbus Arts Council is looking at a possible Franklinton relocation, though GCAC VP of Marketing Jami Goldstein says that their search for new office space is still in the early phases and that they would definitely remain at 100 East Broad through the end of their lease for another year and a half.
In the meantime, neighbors will be able to watch the renovation work at Beacon Hall take place throughout 2014 as the building transforms to host arts programming space, gallery space, rehearsal space and a place for the community to gather.
“The old church was built to be a lighthouse for the community and to serve the community, so we want to repurpose that original purpose,” says Brown. “We want to put a light up in old bellower that tells people Downtown to come across the bridge into Franklinton.”
For more information about The Harmony Project, visit www.harmonyproject.com.