Where do concert venues go when they die? Heaven, Hell or Purgatory? It looks like The Masquerade is about to find out. The historic, Beltline-adjacent building, which is somewhere between 110 and 125 years old, was just officially purchased — along with the adjoining 1.32 acres — for $2.8 million. SWH Residential Partners made the buy, which also included 0.76 acres from the Beltline ($1.1 million) and 1.1 acres from the Atlanta Development Authority ($1.25 million). The plan is to transform The Masquerade building (once DuPre Excelsior Mill) into a 24,000-square-foot adaptive reuse development that would include a 4,500-square-foot restaurant in the music park area behind the building. The entire 3.3-acre lot will also be home to 220 apartments and eight lofts within two years. The project, designed by Smith Dalia Architects, is expected to break ground in October.
Developers have stated that a new, eight-story (including three stories of parking) mixed-use building will be planned before The Masquerade's transformation is finalized. They told Creative Loafing they already know that some newer portions of the historic, protected building will be demolished and that there's a need for some significant electrical and plumbing restorations. Anyone who's ever been inside for a show could have predicted that.
For more than 25 years, the space has hosted hundreds of rock, hip-hop, punk and metal shows as well as dance parties, festivals in the music park and even an annual haunted house. There's not a music lover in town who hasn't felt the floor of Heaven (the venue's top level) bounce like a trampoline under their feet when the crowd gets excited, or known the uncomfortable sensation of dripping sweat all over themselves during their favorite band's set. So the question on everyone's mind is: What will happen to the music? The Masquerade's management has yet to return Curbed Atlanta's inquiries about the venue's future.