A vacant commercial building on Illinois Street behind First Niagara Center will be renovated as a music club. The two-story property at 49 Illinois Street will feature live music at least five nights a week and host local and national acts. The club is planned to also be open on First Niagara Center and Canal Side event dates. The club will also feature a limited food menu.
Local developer Roger Trettel purchased the brick structure, located between the arena and the mixed-use Cobblestone Lofts project on Mississippi Street, in April 2008.
Trettel recognized the potential of the neighborhood and originally purchased the property to renovate for his company's offices. However, as the neighborhood has begun to develop into a waterfront leisure and entertainment district, the concept of a music-oriented venue seemed to make more sense.
"When Sam, Ed and Dan came to me with the idea, we agreed this was the perfect use for this historic building," says Trettel. "It is an awesome building in a fantastic location right across from the arena and a block from the waterfront and Canalside. It fills an entertainment void down here and will contribute to the energy developing all around it. This will be a net positive to the area."
The club and building will be owned by a partnership that includes Trettel, developer Sam Savarino and Savarino's partners in Lagerhaus 95, Ed Plata and Dan Mania. Food and beverage management at the new club will be handled by the management staff at Lagerhaus 95.
According to Savarino, minimal changes are planned to the exterior of the building owing to its location within the Cobblestone Preservation District. A new front entrance is planned and a side entrance and canopy will be added. The new entrance will be removed when weather permits allowing the club to be open to Illinois Street.
Inside, a portion of the building's second floor will be removed to allow patrons to view the stage. The interior will be flexible allowing for smaller events up to concerts holding up to 800.
The venue will add to the entertainment options in the Cobblestone District that includes Lagerhaus 95, Cobblestone Bar, Elements Bar and Grill and Helium Comedy Club. It is within walking distance light rail and several significant development projects including the inner harbor, One Canalside, HARBORcenter, and the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino. A streetscape project along Perry Street is in the planning stages that will help tie the projects together.
A name hasn't been chosen for the club and project partners are open to reader suggestions.