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Abandoned Steinert Hall Makes Headlines Worldwide

...by a developer’s pledge to restore the elegant hall to its former glory.

Steinert Hall dates back to 1896, when Morris Steinert built his flagship music store adjacent to the Boston Commons. The 200-seat concert hall in the basement of the 38,000-square-foot building became a hub of musical activity in Boston over the next four decades. Polish Prime Minister and piano virtuoso Ignacy Paderewski was among the many noted performers who appeared there.

In 1942, a horrific fire in Boston’s nearby Coconut Grove nightclub that left 492 dead raised concerns about the safety of Steinert Hall, given its limited egress. The piano business was struggling at the time due to limited wartime product availability, and rather than invest in improved exits, Steinert management opted to shut down hall. It remained idle ever since, occasionally serving as storage space.

The Steinert Bolyston location was the longest continuously operating music store in the country until 2015, when the Murphy family sold the six-story structure to a local developer. Paul Murphy, Steinert president, said the sale was prompted because it no longer made economic sense to house a piano refinishing and warehouse operation in such a prime downtown location. After the sale, the Steinert retail showroom was moved to a temporary nearby location, with plans to return to the original Steinert building when renovations are complete. Warehousing and refinishing were shifted to a more affordable space in an industrial area in South Boston.

Jim Elcock, executive vice president and managing partner of Colliers International, the company managing the restoration of Steinert Hall, is on record stating, “The intention is to really bring the whole building back to its former beauty, and incorporated in that would be to rehabilitate, reconstruct, and refurbish the concert hall.” Paul Murphy adds, “I think they really mean it.”

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