Local Music Scene Set to Soar with Peace Center’s Project AMPSep 13, 2022 01:07PM ● By David Dykes
(Pictured: Coach Music Factory entrance. Image credit: Peace Center.)
The Peace Center on Sept. 13, 2022, announced a major renovation project designed to diversify Greenville’s live music scene.
Dubbed AMP (A Music Project), the Peace Center plans to repurpose three buildings on its campus for a flat floor music club, an intimate listening room, a podcast and recording studio, and artist dorm.
Peace Center officials said AMP is an important progression in fulfilling the performing arts center's central vision to build the local music scene, create connections, and expand the reach of the performing arts in the South.
Said Peace Center President and CEO Megan Riegel: “AMP is the Peace Center’s answer to the Upstate’s hunger for more live music. By repurposing existing real estate assets on our campus into mission-centric music venues, we will broaden the Peace Center’s scope of live entertainment offerings and allow more people than ever before to experience the arts.”
Peace Center officials said that once complete, the project will effectively achieve their longstanding goal of realizing a fully-functioning, 10-venue arts and entertainment campus by or before 2030.
The estimated cost of the project is $36 million.
The project elements are:
Coach Music Factory
The historic Roe Coach Factory flanking the east side of the Peace Amphitheater will be repurposed into a flat floor music club. Featuring a broad diversity of musical genres, such as rock, jazz, techno, country, pop, R&B, and electronic dance, the Coach Music Factory will have a club vibe to satisfy those who want to experience music while dancing in a fun, casual environment.
Similar comparisons are The Orange Peel in Asheville, the Fillmore in Charlotte, and the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C.
The three-tiered club will feature a patio, an outdoor balcony off the second floor, and bars on each level. A visually attractive entrance with glass walls will be accessed from Graham Plaza between the Coach Music Factory and Gunter Theatre. Maximum capacity is estimated at 1300.
Named as a nod to Nashville’s famed Bluebird Café, The Mockingbird will be a listening room situated inside the historic Gullick and Markley buildings on Main Street next to the Gunter Theatre.
With capacity estimated at 250, the casual, intimate setting will create a space for artists and their audiences to closely connect. The venue will feature a bar, with hardwood and tile floors, tin ceilings and a lounge. A particularly unique feature will be a glass wall behind the stage where artists perform. This will provide a visually interesting “window” for audiences as well as passersby walking down Main Street, Peace Center officials said.
The space directly above The Mockingbird will become a modern, three-bedroom suite for the use of artists performing at any Peace Center venue. The artist dorm will accommodate performers who want a bit of privacy from their public life on the road or simply a convenient place to stay before or after their gig.
The fully furnished, three-bed/3.5-bath suite will feature a common living area and kitchen, with views of Main Street and the Reedy River.
The space next to the artist dorms will be turned into a professional podcast and recording studio. Managed and operated by the Peace Center, the studio will be available for booking by artists in need of professional recording, mixing, editing and related audio services. It also provides the Peace Center opportunities to produce original content.
The Wyche Riverwalk and Gardens
A final element of the AMP project is to elevate the Wyche outdoor event space with a distinctive urban design.
Using natural foliage and re-routing pathways leading to and from the open-air structure, the Wyche will take new root in a garden-like setting.
Designed to complement nearby Falls Park, patio gardens will be situated on either end of the building with a riverwalk overlooking the banks of the Reedy River. ADA-compliant semi-circular paths will provide access into either side of the building with subtle landscape lighting illuminating the way.
Building designs for AMP were developed by local Greenville architectural firm Craig, Gaulden, Davis (CGD) with landscape design from the local office of MKSK. CGD designed the original Peace Center campus that opened in 1990 and has extensive renovation design experience with historic buildings.
Construction is expected to begin in February 2023 and is estimated for completion in late 2024.
Peace Center officials say the intent of AMP is to diversify Greenville's live music options.
By repurposing underused real estate and providing new mission-centric programming, the Peace Center can continue to meet the needs of the community and help Greenville become an even more vibrant music town, the officials say.
“We’ve listened carefully to what our community says it wants regarding live entertainment,” said Riegel. “These new venues will complete the circle of our live music scene and attract a whole new range of artists and visitors to Greenville. People have been waiting for this for a long time.”
Established in 1990, the six-acre Peace Center campus consists of the 2,115-seat Peace Concert Hall, 400-seat Gunter Theatre, an outdoor amphitheater, and a number of popular event spaces including the iconic Wyche building and the Huguenot Mill.
Year-round performances include the best of Broadway, legendary comedians, musicians, dancers, poets, filmmakers and orchestras.
The Peace Center also fulfills its mission of building community and creating connections through Artists-in-Residence programs; community celebrations like Juneteenth; partnerships with community organizations; and serving as a central gathering place for all.
An economic impact study issued in September 2022 by The University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business estimates the Peace Center’s total annual economic impact on Greenville County to be $80.6 million.
Construction of the Coach Music Factory, The Mockingbird, Artist Dorm, The Studio and Wyche urban design is expected to have an additional economic impact of approximately $56.8 million on Greenville County by December 2024.