The Masquerade may be in parking purgatory, but the raggedly lovable Old Fourth Ward music venue is planning to rock on. Free space (read: parking) around the mid-sized venue, up and running on North Avenue since 1989, is becoming increasingly rare these days. Construction activity at Ponce City Market has encroached in recent months, and apartment-building has also begun on a previously empty, nearby lot the venue had used for parking. Still, Masquerade spokesman Jeremiah Edmond told Curbed Atlanta the ever-present rumors about a possible move — given new life in light of the current parking predicament — ain't true. "There are no current plans to move the Masquerade," he said. "It has been a long-standing rumor ever since the building was sold several years back and other surrounding lots began developing, but it's not true."
The Masquerade is still keeping a full slate of shows — not to mention launching the new Shaky Knees Festival in May — and making do with what it's got, parking-wise. For concerts, the venue has started running shuttles to and from a couple of satellite lots and posting night-by-night directions on its website and on social media; Edmonds said they ran three sold-out shows in a row alongside other events last week without issue. "The fact that the construction on Ponce (City) Market and the construction on the lot that we used for parking ended up landing at the same time definitely complicated our parking situation for larger events," Edmonds said, "but we have solutions in place."
As for the venue's former parking lot, AMLI Residential scooped up the property in 2011 when word spread that Jamestown Properties could develop the huge brick edifice on Ponce. The project has yet to go vertical, but it appears to be close. It's the company's third apartment complex in the gentrifying Old Fourth Ward, each located steps from the park.
How does The Masquerade's vow to soldier on in the face of — dare we say, urban enhancements — strike you? It'll be a fine day when Atlanta claims a scarcity of surface parking lots, but the Masquerade's plight illustrates how repercussions can follow.
— By Curbed Atlanta contributor Tyler Estep
· More Apartments En Route at Historic 4th Ward Park [Curbed Atlanta]