The Anthem, a 6,000-capacity, music-only concert hall under construction in Washington, D.C., has been a dream since the earliest days of I.M.P. partner Seth Hurwitz’s career. 

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Dave Grohl and Seth Hurwitz - I.M.P.’s Seth Hurwitz and Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl inspect the construction of The Anthem in Washington, D.C.

The idea to build such a place began to form “the first time I did a show in someone else’s venue, and someone else told me the rules I had to follow,” Hurwitz told Pollstar.

Developer Monty Hoffman, who is behind The Wharf – a mixed-use development rising along the Potomac River – met with Hurwitz at the right time and place, and planning for The Anthem began.

“This is a place where people are going to live, and go out at night and have fun,” Hurwitz said.  “He has hand-picked all the restaurants; there’s not going to be any chains. The whole city is excited about the development. I heard about it and I cold-called him. We had one meeting and that was it; it was me and him.”

The $60 million Anthem will open Oct. 12 with local favorites Foo Fighters and, although future bookings haven’t yet been released, Hurwitz promises the calendar is chock full of top-shelf artists that might otherwise either bypass the District or perform at non-music venues like the DAR Constitution Hall or college facilities.

One thing The Anthem won’t do is compete with the 9:30 Club.

“There are acts that want to play [The Anthem] because they’ve sold out the 9:30 Club. But not every act that sells out the 9:30 Club will play here.”

Hurwitz says the purpose of The Anthem is not simply to be another link in the promoter’s venue portfolio to fill a gap between the 9:30 Club and Merriweather Post Pavilion, although it does that too.

“We’ve been very picky about who we’ve moved up and we’re really actually curating [The Anthem]. We want the place to have a certain look not in terms of style or genre, but in the caliber of acts. I can honestly say, looking at what we’ve booked, I don’t think any of these acts would have played the 9:30 Club if we didn’t have The Anthem.”

The pieces came together to build The Anthem when Hoffman won the rights to develop the Washington, D.C., waterfront, near the National Mall downtown.

The Anthem will have an adjustable capacity, ranging from 2,500 to 6,000 among its floor seats and two balconies. Given its location in the center of The Wharf, it will be surrounded by compatible businesses including restaurants, and it will also be serviced by water taxis to ferry over concertgoers from Georgetown.

But none of it would be happening, Hurwitz said, were it not for Hoffman’s vision and persistence.

“He won the rights to develop this site … and the vision to stick with this project that didn’t fit all the usual formulas, like how much money per square foot, compared to a hotel and so on,” Hurwitz said. “He’s gotten excited about [The Anthem] and understood it. He’s gotten involved on the creative side in a good way.

“I was very fortunate to meet this guy at the right time. He said, ‘I want this. This belongs right here on the Mall, on the river, in my development.’ We made a deal and we worked together on the design process, and I couldn’t have done it without him,” Hurwitz continued.

“It’s our chance to build the dream venue, and that’s what we’re going to do.”