A new House of Blues venue will be in downtown Philadelphia, Billboard.biz has learned. House of Blues Entertainment, Inc. has finalized lease negotiations with Philadelphia-based real estate developm

A new House of Blues venue will be in downtown Philadelphia, Billboard.biz has learned.

House of Blues Entertainment, Inc. has finalized lease negotiations with Philadelphia-based real estate development company Grasso Holdings, Inc. to open a new House of Blues club in the landmark Packard Building in Philly’s Center City Business District. It’s expected to create approximately 200 new jobs.

“We are very excited about this,” Jack Gannon, senior VP of marketing at House of Blues Entertainment, tells Billboard.biz. “We hope to open by early summer (2007).”

The venue will feature a 500 to 600-capacity live multi-purpose entertainment hall, a full-service Southern cuisine restaurant, a lounge and retail store, an upscale mezzanine dining area and a private membership Foundation Room. The club will encompass 40,000 square feet of the historic building, which formerly housed a bank as a tenant.

“The space in the Packard Building has several floors to it,” Gannon says. “The music hall programming is going to be in the lower level. It’s actually going to be in an old (bank) vault portion of the building, so we’re calling it the Vault.”

Gannon adds that House of Blues is looking for additional music venues in Philadelphia. “We’re still looking through other options in terms of potential larger music halls in that city,” he says.

With the Philadelphia announcement, Gannon says House of Blues is working to building a strong presence in the Northeast, and is currently in the process of scouting potential sites in New York and Boston.

“Philadelphia is one we were able to close first,” he says. “It’s another step in the process of building a stronger presence in the Northeast, which will help us not only build the brand, but also (give us) leverage when routing bands through that area.”

In related news, House of Blues has upcoming venues slated for Dallas in spring 2007 and Houston in mid-2008. In April, the company announced plans for a new club for Seattle, and opened new venues in Atlantic City and San Diego in 2005.