Tuesday, May 08, 2018

As Town-DC nears closing July 1, big city clubs have to consider the basic economics of real estate

Town Danceboutique is now in the last two months of its life, as it stands now; it is due to close on Sunday, July 1, since it has apparently lost its lease on the building, which will apparently be replaced with apartments or condos.  I wonder about the wisdom of developers closing down popular nightclubs which could be a main attraction for tenants. In larger coastal cities with large demand for housing, discos right now are at the mercy of developers. 

I’ve kept my own eyes open, and took a picture near Union Market which I have had passed along to owners.  I have no idea if this can work out.  I’ve also passed along a commercial realtor with whom I had indirect contact in the past two years before selling my own house.

It strikes me that the economics of real estate in coastal cities makes it very difficult to justify a property that takes a whole building and is only open two nights most week.  The Town, however, had opened a Patio, as I recall, in late 2015, and it got only three years of use out of it.

Wouldn’t it make more economic sense to have a building where much of the space is used for perhaps stage shows or cinema other nights of the week?  There are clubs that combine music or performance and social functions.  Not just the 930 near the Town;  I am thinking of the Poisson Rouge in NYC on Bleecker Street.   And the Therapy, in Hells Kitchen, manages to keep its upstairs dance floor open most nights, it seems, with no cover.  It is sometimes a reason to let Amtrak pick a hotel in Hells Kitchen.

In some southern cities with lower land costs, a disco-only property can probably work better.  I’m thinking of the Scorpio (Charlotte), Hunter’s (Fort Lauderdale or Wilton Manor), and S4 (Dallas). 

I was just in Baltimore, for the film festival, and I haven’t noticed much that takes the place of the Hippo, which became a CVS store.  Apparently it is very hard for a new owner to renew a liquor license there after a sale.

I’m wondering if some sort of club could work in the Ballston Quarter in Arlington when it opens.  Certainly, judging from the street traffic, the population is there. 
You could see more dance events in rented hotel rooms or casinos or other such spaces. Maybe not full circuit parties.  But this idea might have to be tried for a while after July 1.  I wonder if National Harbor could work. Maybe some sort of space near Nationals Park or the new soccer stadium to be built.

Any new location is likely to be in a gentrifying area, and attention will have to be given to security and patrols, and in improvements to the surrounding neighborhood.  

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