A rendering of what the Factory will look like once it is complete.
In a year of non-stop cancellations and closures comes a rare piece of good news for local fans of live music: A big, shiny new venue called the Factory is coming soon to Chesterfield.
Well, "soon" might be overstating things (although in an age of lockdowns, what is time even, anyway?) — the 52,000 square foot space is set to celebrate its grand opening on May 1.
According to a press release, the Factory will be an anchor for the District, a project being undertaken by local developer the Staenberg Group, which it describes as "a dynamic entertainment and dining destination" at the intersection of I-64 and Boones Crossing in the space that is currently home to the Chesterfield Outlets.
“This marks the beginning of a new era for the music scene in the St. Louis region,” says Michael Staenberg, founder of the Staenberg Group and partner in the Factory. “We are creating a new standard in the industry. There is nothing else like it in the midwest.”
The Factory will have a maximum capacity of 3,000 people, but it will use movable, modular panels to offer flexibility in the overall size of the room in order to cater to different types of events. In addition to hosting large concerts featuring national touring acts, the space will also be used for trade shows, corporate events, banquets and even weddings.
Renderings of the space show an interior that takes its cues from factories and manufacturing plants, with a lot of exposed brick, polished concrete and metalwork stairs. The space will also feature a 60-foot stage and balcony seating.
Booking will be handled by Steve Schankman, founder of Contemporary Productions, a longtime player in St. Louis' live entertainment industry that previously owned Riverport (back when it was still called Riverport, although let's be honest, we still call it Riverport) and who was formerly a partner at the Pageant. Dan Merker, former vice president of touring with Outback Presents, will work alongside Schankman on the talent-buying side of things. Both bring a trove of industry experience that shines through in the project's impressive attention to detail.
“As specialists in the art of producing unforgettable concerts and events, we know the Factory will attract music lovers from all across the region," Schankman says. "For the artists, every amenity has been included, featuring five dressing rooms, private production office, catering room with outdoor deck, stage level load-in, four loading docks and space for three tour buses.”
Also on the team is Brian Carp, who will serve as the Factory's chief operating officer. Carp brings "decades of expertise to the project," according to the release, having held management positions at several venues across the U.S., including Boulder, Colorado's Fox Theatre and the House of Blues locations in both Anaheim and Dallas.
“Michael [Staenberg] and I took all of the elements that worked exceptionally well in venues across the country and incorporated them into the Factory,” Carp says. “There will be seven full-service, high-capacity bars throughout the venue, two outdoor smoking decks, plus the great location and ample free parking will make the Factory one of the preeminent venues in the country.”
The conversion of the Chesterfield Outlets into a nightlife destination will mean that the retail aspect of the area will be phased out in favor of bars and restaurants and, of course, live music. In some ways the ambitious project has something of a Ballpark Village feel to it, with music serving as the main attraction rather than baseball.
But no matter the specifics, the team behind the Factory has clearly high hopes — and any hope at all is welcome in the hell year known as 2020.
“The group is envisioning a nightlife experience that concertgoers will want to enjoy before and after the show,” says Staenberg. “With the fantastic restaurants coming to the District, we know guests will make an entire night of enjoying a great meal and a show at the Factory and easy access to I-64 after the performance!”
Check out a fly-through rendering of the upcoming space below:
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