[Image via Google Streetview.]
Avondale Estates! Are you ready to rock?! (Very quietly, of course.) Decaturish reports that city commissioners from Avondale Estates, the land of adorable tudors and horrific speed traps, approved an application yesterday for a plan to transform the city's old Towne Cinema into a music venue. The building has been a private residence, a post office, the city hall, the Nickel & Dime Recording Studio and a 500-seat theater during its 89-year life but has been sitting vacant for quite some time. It was purchased along with the rest of the tudor village for $1.1 million in 2012 and has been looking for someone with the right vision ever since. Last June, Birmingham lawyer Stewart Wilbanks dropped the idea of opening a music venue in the space, saying he didn't have time for a project of that size. This year, roadie and Sister Hazel merch dude (yes, that Sister Hazel) Tony Longval is bringing the dream back to life. He's got three investors, a plan and buckets of enthusiasm.
Longval hopes to start work within two months and have the first of three phases finished six to seven months after that, so don't go buying your tickets just yet. His crew will restore the balcony, turn the old projector room into a speakeasy serving cocktails and tapas and install "some of the best [soundproofing] in the world."
Once the remodel is complete, he hopes the venue will provide an intimate setting for acoustic shows by "national, semi-national and up-and-coming artists." That sounds like Eddie's Attic Part II until you read the rest of Longval's plan, which sounds like he is open to just about anything, including but not limited to jazz, pop, rock, country, blues, Broadway, improv, theater, kids events, private events such as video shoots, tv shows, movie shoots and weddings. So anything. Well, anything EXCEPT for a nightclub. Avondale officials were so concerned about the possibility of a raging club ending up in their tudor village (the venue will be open until 2 a.m.) that they went all Footloose and approved the plan under the condition that there is to be no designated dance floor.
Parking is one of the project's primary obstacles. With just 13 parking spaces out front and 26 in the rear, Longval is hoping that the city goes through with plans to lease a nearby MARTA lot that could add 150 spaces.