Ground broken on new Ordway concert hall

Aided by former St. Paul Mayor George Latimer, Ordway President Patricia Mitchell displays a shovel used at the Ordway’s original groundbreaking more than 30 years ago. The tool was being used again as officials broke ground on a new 1,100 seat concert hall at the Ordway. (MPR Photo/Cindy Gonzalez)

Supporters of the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts gathered in St. Paul Wednesday to break ground on a new 1,100 seat concert hall.

The new hall will be primarily used by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, which will free up the Ordway’s larger music theater for the center’s other tenants. The new hall will also be used by the Schubert Club, the Minnesota Opera, and musical programming by the Ordway itself. 

A $79 million capital campaign is funding the new building; the campaign will also establish an endowment for the Ordway.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman welcomed the news that more than $65 million has already been raised, including a $1 million gift Wednesday.

“It just really tells you how strongly people feel about this facility,” Coleman said.

Ordway President Patricia Mitchell said she expects the new venue will be a valuable asset to the city.

“Probably we can attract another 120-125,000 people. So the economic multiplier of that, in terms of parking and restaurant revenue and so on is probably $6-7 million to the city,” she said.

Construction will take about two years. The new hall, which will be acoustically designed for classical music performance, will sit on the spot now occupied by the Ordway’s McKnight Theater.