For a lot of people, the mere thought of Power Plant Live! conjures up images of college-aged bar hoppers or out-of-towners who don't know any better.
But The Cordish Companies' vice president Reed Cordish wants to change that—with a $10 million upgrade, the complex's first in a decade.
"Whenever you make enhancements like this," Cordish says, "you want to open your arms to anyone who has written it off or hasn't checked it out in a while."
The major upgrades, pictured, include new tenants—pizza place Joe Squared (its second location), Leinenkugel's beer garden, The Baltimore Comedy Factory (which moved from Light Street)—plus a new valet entrance and a permanent outdoor stage.
"What I want to create is a hip, chill restaurant scene in the front," Cordish says. "Then as you walk back, and as the night goes on, you get to experience this fun, higher energy scene."
Cordish also says he's eager to get Power Plant back to its roots, by having more local operators, like Joe Squared owner Joe Edwardsen.
"We're hoping that opening there will diversify the crowds a bit," Edwardsen says. "Power Plant has gotten a lot of cookie-cutter places, so it's great they're switching back to locally-owned establishments."
He explains that the second Joe Squared, set to open at the end of this month, won't be a replica of the original. The restaurant will be all bar and counter space, have quarterly art shows instead of monthly, and two-piece bands rather than bigger acts.
Also opening at the end of this month is the 3,500-square-foot glass pavilion that will house a beer hall featuring 40 specialty beers from Wisconsin-based brewer Leinenkugel's. Cordish hopes that these changes will bring people to Power Plant throughout the day.
"We're trying to create something for everybody," he says. "Now you can have a lot more daytime activity, with lunchtime and happy hours."
This is in addition to the permanent outdoor stage that will host Better Than Ezra this month. Cordish says that bringing concert goers back—like he did by opening Rams Head Live! four years ago—is key to changing the face of Power Plant.
"For those that just view it as a young, college place," he says, "they probably want to take another look."