A beautiful facility created for amazing music is getting fixed up – and Viega is there. 

The Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House (MOH) is a historic building that has changed hands and offerings through the years. Thanks to some work and agreements in 2017, a $45 million renovation began, and Viega ProPress is part of the work. 

Mechanical contractor Devine Brothers, Inc. had previously done some work with the co-owner and developer of the MOH, and was brought in for the plumbing design for the massive building. Because the Devine Brothers crew tries to use ProPress wherever they can, it was part of the design from the beginning. 

“This is an old building,” said Rich Devine, President and CEO of Devine Brothers. “We didn’t want to use torches and have to worry about soldering or fire watch. There are plaster ceilings, too, and it’s a lot easier to get a pipe in there and press instead of getting your hands in there in the nooks and crannies in the walls to have to solder.” 

Devine said about 15,000 feet of copper pipe was run in the MOH for domestic water. Live Nation has signed as the tenant and concert promoter for the MOH and is expected to bring in large crowds. In such a huge facility – it will seat 4,000 when finished – there is a lot to plumb. 

“There’s a kitchen, multiple bars, and with five floors, there are a lot of bathrooms,” Devine said. “ProPress makes sense because there’s the risk factor of soldering in an old wood building. Plus the speed is a big advantage. 

“Our estimating software recognizes a 10-15 percent savings [with Viega] and when you get a job with large mains and large runs like this, it can go higher.” 

Devine Brothers started its work in October 2017 on the building, which has an estimated opening in December 2018. The company used ProPress fittings anywhere from 3⁄4″ to 4″ in size, and sometimes had as many as 12 crew members on the project at one time. 

The entire building has undergone a massive restoration and renovation process. Included on the National Register of Historic Places since 1972, careful work was done to keep the “bones” of the opera house in place as it was converted into a music hall. 

The MOH was originally built in 1908, in just a few months, by Oscar Hammerstein I. It was originally home to Hammerstein’s Philadelphia Opera Company. The house was sold to the Metropolitan Opera House of New York City in 1910 and was renamed. Various opera companies used the building through 1934, followed by five decades of constant use as a movie theater, a ballroom, a sports venue and a church. 

Vacant from 1988 to 1995, the building was declared imminently dangerous by city building authorities, but was saved from demolition when it was purchased by a Reverend to become the Holy Ghost Headquarters Revival Center.

The church would later spend millions of dollars attempting to stabilize the structure. A co-ownership agreement was eventually reached between the church and current developer in 2017, at the same time that Live Nation signed its lease agreement to bring concerts to the revitalized opera house. 

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