9:30 Club to Operate D.C.'s Historic Lincoln Theatre

Thursday, Jun 27, 2013  |  Updated 3:00 PM EDT
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9:30 Club to Operate Historic Lincoln Theatre

Lincoln Theatre

The owners of prominent D.C. music venue the 9:30 Club have been announced as the new operators of the city's Lincoln Theatre.

Mayor Vincent Gray announced Thursday that I.M.P. -- the company that owns the 9:30 Club -- submitted the winning bid to operate the 90-year-old Lincoln, which sits on U Street next to Ben's Chili Bowl.

The historic theater was established as a cornerstone of "Washington's Black Broadway" during a time when segregation kept African-Americans out of other local theaters, but it fell into disrepair as a result of the 1968 riots. After a 1990s-era restoration, it was kept afloat by constant cash infusions from the city, but has struggled to maintain bookings over recent years.

In January 2012, Gray granted oversight of the theater to the the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which sought to create a plan to make the Lincoln financially solvent.

"It's an honor and a thrill to be entrusted with bringing new life to such a wonderful old theatre," said Seth Hurwitz, chairman of I.M.P., in a release. "Who doesn't love places like this? You walk into it and gasp every time. To be able to make this more a part of people's lives here again is an opportunity that is truly a privilege."

I.M.P. also runs the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md., and produces concerts at other venues throughout the region.

"There are so many kinds of shows that we are not able to do at 9:30 Club that we will now have a place for, including many that we had to take out of the city," Hurwitz said. "Although we have been doing this for 33 years, we have added very few venues in our family roster. But this one we couldn't pass up. The Lincoln is just too cool not to do."

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