Fillmore Theater opens in Silver Spring

Mary J. Blige takes the stage in front of a packed house at the Fillmore's grand opening. (Photo: ABC7)

A new concert venue will fill a space that's stood empty for 20 years. The Fillmore Theater is opening Thursday night in Montgomery County.

The new theater is the sixth Fillmore to open across the country.

Marco Fortini can't wait. His family has owned Da Marco restaurant next door to the theater for 31 years.

The building where the Fillmore now resides has sat empty since J.C. Penny moved out 20 years ago. Downtown Silver Spring has seen a renaissance in recent years with the renovation of the restaurant and entertainment zone.

But development along the Colesville Road corridor has been slow, with many storefronts remaining vacant. Business owners hope the Fillmore will change that.

“It should bring more people to the downtown area and be good for everybody involved with downtown Silver Spring,” said Jeff Wanger, who owns a business in the area.

“It's hot it's a new. It's great for downtown Silver Spring and .. you catch the Metro here if you want,” said Antonio Lambertis.

Corrie Johnson, who lives just down the street, doesn't like a music venue that can attract a few thousand people on the weekends located so close to her home. Johnson is worried about traffic and congestion.