Empire Live celebrates one year in Downtown with ribbon cutting
A celebration for event venues Empire Live and Empire Underground one year in the making was held on August 26, 2022. Joining Owners Ted Etoll, Dave Siewert, and Stan Levinstone, and Redburn Development Partners Principal Jeff Buell at the 93 N Pearl Street ribbon cutting ceremony were Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Senator Neil Breslin, Assemblymember John T. McDonald III, RPh, Assemblymember Patricia Fahy, and Albany Counsel to the County Executive Jeffrey Jamison.
Indie band Cold War Kids opened Empire Live on August 26, 2021, with about 700 attendees ushering in a new era of Albany’s Central Social District. Since then, the combined 104 years of industry experience of the owners and managers has served to attract approximately 60,000 people to Empire Live and Empire Underground events, including internationally renowned Mongolian band The HU, a Taylor Swift dance party, and everything in between.
The arrival of the two venues in Downtown was years in the making, the result of a confluence of Redburn Development Partners beginning work on their newly acquired portfolio of Downtown buildings and the Upstate Concert Hall owners seeking a location more conducive to live entertainment. Due to physical limitations of the existing space, in 2016 the owners of the Clifton Park venue began considering a move. Having looked at several potential spaces, it was once Buell showed them the Capital Repertory Space in 2019 that a move to downtown Albany – which they call the heart of the city – became an easy decision for Etoll, Siewert, and Levinstone.
A yearlong gut renovation by Redburn’s team followed, transforming the space from a theatre into two venues that cover 15,500 square feet and can hold 1,350 people total. With the renovated spaces came the desire to rebrand under a name that represented the magnitude of the project and what its completion would bring to the community. Newly named and constructed, Empire Live and Empire Underground both offer higher-quality experiences for fans and artists alike thanks to taller ceilings and larger stages that accommodate higher-quality production capabilities including sound and lighting, unobstructed views, and lower wait times for drinks thanks to bars that are more conveniently located within the venues.