No deal: Sun sets on Old Sol Music Hall’s proposed Amherst Street music venue

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Matt and Jody Wilhelm outside 23 Amherst St. in February of 2016, after announcing a plan to propose purchasing the building to create a music venue. 

MANCHESTER, NH – Negotiations between Manchester Development Corporation and Old Sol Music Hall have ended in uncertainty for the future of the proposed community music venue.

It appears a protracted negotiation period compounded by competition from similar proposed venues in Concord and Nashua have foiled the plan, which would have transformed the old Rex Theatre on Amherst Street into a lively arts community center.

Old Sol Executive Director Matt Wilhelm issued the following statement on Tuesday:

After months of negotiations, Old Sol Productions and the Manchester Development Corporation were unable to agree to terms for the purchase and sale of the historic Rex Theatre at 23 Amherst St.

Also within the last week, plans for mid-size live music venues were announced in both Nashua and Concord, raising concerns about the viability of three venues with similar capacities within a 20-mile radius of Manchester. In light of these recent developments, we are taking time to regroup and consider what’s next for Old Sol Music Hall.

We are grateful to everyone that has contributed to developing Old Sol from an idea into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization over the last year. By supporting and attending Old Sol’s cultural and civic programming, you’ve made an important statement about the power of music to strengthen the fabric of our community. We look forward to your continued partnership as we explore how to best achieve our mission of leveraging the arts to create positive social and environmental impact.

Wilhelm said he could not elaborate further on where negotiations broke down or what’s next for Old Sol’s proposal – or whether there’s a Plan B brewing – due to real estate confidentiality agreements.

In his state of the city address last week, Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess announced 
that the city was working on a project that could convert a defunct fire station on Court Street into a music venue, a collaborative effort between their city’s  Great American Downtown and owners of Riverwalk Cafe.

And in Concord, the Capitol Center for the Arts is reportedly eyeing an opportunity to snap up the old historic Concord Theatre on Main Street. 

Manchester Development Corporation operates under the direction of the Mayor and Board of Alderman, and in concert with the City’s Economic Development Director, to negotiate and oversee economic development activities for the city, including business relations, retention, attraction and expansion. Their next regularly scheduled meeting is March 9 at 7:30 a.m., 20 Market St., first floor.


About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!