Business

Webster Hall's Richard Pawelczyk to Open The Arc in Long Island City, Queens

Rich Pawelczyk
Courtesy Photo

Rich Pawelczyk

20,000-sq.-ft. concert and recording space to open next year in New York's fastest growing neighborhood in Queens

Former Webster Hall executive vp and chief operating officer Rich Pawelczyk has joined the management team at The Arc, a 20,000-sq.-ft. new concert and recording venue in the Kaufman Arts District of Long Island City in Queens, considered New York’s fastest-growing neighborhood.

The venue is part of John Belitsky's DMNDR network, a global community of artists, musicians and fans that user DMNDR to share their work. The venue will serve as DMNDR's physical concert and recording venue.

As COO, Pawelczyk will oversee bookings, brand sponsorship programs and strategic media partnerships for The Arc, which opens in early 2019. The Arc is set in a 1931 vintage building that features multiple performance spaces, a state-of-the-art recording studio, a sound stage and high-grade acoustics that organizers say "will rank among the finest in the world." Taking up a full city block, the venue will include a media center for streaming, a 24-hour café featuring the cuisine of 600+ local food vendors and spaces for local talent and community collaborations. 

"A project of this size and magnitude doesn't happen too often in New York City," said Pawelczyk, which he estimates is only 12 minutes from Midtown Manhattan via car or subway. 

"The building itself is the connective tissue to all the things we hope to be doing," he says. "It has a beautiful Douglas Fir wood arc in the ceiling, which is one of the reasons we named the venue The Arc, as well as the career arc for artists playing in our smallest space and then our larger space and then doing some of the digital properties we're going to be rolling out in conjunction with the brick and mortar."

The building's small performance space has a capacity of 389, while the larger performance space can hold 1,690. The venue's home is in Long Island City in Queens, across from the Astoria neighborhood, which has become a movie-making hub for New York. The venue currently has a limited permit to do event invitation-only events in the smaller space during construction. Pawelczyk also stressed the event is truly a 24-hour-a-day space for recording and rehearsing.

"The decimation of the recording studio business in New York has left a dearth of real places to record and play," he explains. "To actually capture a drum sound on a stage with the superlative acoustic set we'll be offering is something that really differentiates, a certain level of bands to a higher level of recording"

Joining Pawelczyk at the Arc is Grammy award-winning producer/engineer Adam Abeshouse to oversee acoustics for the venue and help develop sound technology to retrofit the nearly 87-year-old venue, that's hosted early performances by LoveHoney, Madison McFerrin, Jackie Venson, Jon Fratelli (of the Fratellis), Oxymorrons, Mosie and more. Current performances are by invitation only and occur weekly. 

Pawelczyk spent nine years at Webster Hall, holding ticketed shows for artists like Lindsay Stirling and Wiz Khalifa. He said it was his experience with the 132-year-old building, which last year was bought by Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment and AEG Presents, that helped him encouraged features like a simple drive-in loading dock to make unloading shows easier. 

"We want to be innovative and we have already proved to at least ourselves and now it's up to us to prove to the community at large that we will be innovative," he said. "We all got involved with such an ambitious project and we are putting together our team to program these rooms, none of which are unsubstantial in their design or their execution. We have the ability to do a lot of things including festivals and work with businesses in the community and the city. We have an open door and more importantly, an open mind as far as how we program and what we program."