Almost 1,000 community residents and students applied for positions at the Met Philadelphia, a live entertainment venue that will open soon on North Broad Street near Poplar.
Live Nation hosted a job fair for Met positions on Friday and Saturday at “The View,” a multi-purpose facility at 800 North Broad Street owned by People for People, a nonprofit that aims to break the cycle of generational poverty.
Live Nation will fill 200 positions at the Met, formerly the Metropolitan Opera House, which will open in December. The positions ranged from part-time ticket takers and ushers to full-time management.
By the end, Live Nation received almost five times the number of applications as there are open positions during the fair, said Ike Richman, a spokesman for the company.
Eric Battice, 27, who lives on Broad Street near Lehigh Avenue, is one of those applicants. He works 32 hours a week at McDonald’s for $7.25 an hour, minimum wage.
“I’ve always wanted something better,” he said. “I’m glad that they are offering jobs because it’s right next to a shelter for the homeless, so hopefully they are giving them opportunities as well.”
The Met is near an Affordable Housing Center at 846 North Broad Street and the Salvation Army Red Shield Family Residence at 715 North Broad Street.
Battice said he knows a lot of people who need jobs, or have part-time jobs but are looking for full-time work.
Philadelphia County had an unemployment rate of nearly six percent in June 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is two points higher than the national unemployment rate of four percent.
City Council President Darrell Clarke wrote in a press release that the new North Philadelphia entertainment destination will bring work to the community and visitors from around the region. Clarke also represents the 5th District, which is where the new venue will be.
“We are grateful to our friends at Live Nation, [developer] Eric Blumenfeld and the Holy Ghost Church who are restoring a wonderful piece of our City’s history and creating opportunities for our residents,” Clarke wrote. “The excitement is building on North Broad Street.”
Holy Ghost Headquarters Revival Center purchased the Met in 1997, saving it from demolition. Blumenfeld, the Philadelphia developer who worked on the Divine Lorraine, now jointly owns the building with Holy Ghost. Live Nation is leasing out the building as a live entertainment venue.
The $56 million Met development will also include a restaurant, banquet hall and catering facilities.
Richman said Holy Ghost will hold services in the building on Sundays and holidays.
Live Nation also plans on using the new space to give back to the community, putting 25 cents of every ticket sold at the Met into a fund for the city’s grade school students.
“We’re supporting public education…being part of the community is a top priority for Live Nation and the Met,” Richman said.
Bob Dylan will play the first show at the Met on Dec. 3, which has now sold out.
“The Met will change the way people see live entertainment in our region,” Geoff Gordon, the regional president of Live Nation Philadelphia wrote in a press release. “Therefore, it is important for us that we seek qualified candidates to join our team in delivering a high-quality experience for our guests.”
Rochelle Fogle of West Philadelphia, 42, attended the job fair. She runs her own catering business and works with food prep to support her and her 13-year-old son.
Fogle said she is applying to work at the Met to find job stability, something that running her own business does not provide.
“I think its cool. I think it’ll bring a lot of different people around, you know, some diversity,” Fogle said. “The building looks like it’s going to be beautiful…It’ll be a good change for Philly.”