The property currently home to Smith's Olde Bar may soon change hands.
Marketed as "Morningside Strip Center," the property that includes the iconic Smith's Olde Bar is due to go to auction August 28th. According to a "property package" I obtained, the center, on Piedmont Avenue in Piedmont Heights, was built in 1925 and has been owned by the Taylor family since 1927, or 88 consecutive years.
Although now controlled by a trust, Beverly Anne Taylor owned the property until this past March when she passed away at age 97. A native Atlantan, Taylor's parents May Garvey and Albert Heery Bailey had a home at the corner of Peachtree and Piedmont Roads until 1956. Notably, in 1939 she attended the premiere of Gone With The Wind and danced with Clark Gable at the ball. To this native Atlantan, both of these are pretty remarkable.
Also remarkable is the longevity of key tenant Smith's Olde Bar. The bar, restaurant and live music venue occupies 10,511 square feet (over five spaces) of the property's overall 17,767 square feet in retail space. Smith's has been the center's biggest attraction in recent memory, having opened in 1993. Similar to the likes of The Masquerade and the (original) Roxy Theatre on Roswell Road in Buckhead, Smith's is a great place to see a new, local or up-and-coming band in an intimate setting.
News this week indicates that Atlanta may soon lose the Masquerade to, yes, you guessed it: MORE FU$&ING APARTMENTS. Cobb County will be getting a new version of the Roxy Theatre as part of the new SunTrust Park development but it won't be the same. As previously reported, New York's City Winery, an entertainment venue, will be opening at Ponce City Market, but like the Roxy revamp, will be new and likely pricier than other options. There is something about seeing a band in a grungy, old, small venue that just makes it that much better.
Sadly, also included in the "property package" is a line that reads "Smith’s Olde Bar is currently an at will tenant and has received a 60 day notice to vacate, which is in dispute. The Ownership is working to resolve this ongoing issue." According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Smith's has filed a lawsuit against the trust to challenge the notice.
According to the materials, the property includes 1576-1590 Piedmont Avenue and also includes 25 parking spaces.
|Active liquidation sale at Ansley Antiques|
Ansley Antiques, located at 1586 Piedmont Avenue, occupies 2,738 square feet and is currently having a liquidation sale. The antique shop's lease ends September 30th. Glory Be Salon previously occupied 1,522 square feet at 1590 Piedmont Avenue, but has already relocated. Glory Be is now at 595 Wimbledon Road, essentially behind nearby Grindhouse Killer Burgers.
Smith's occupies basically all of the remaining space.
Not included in the property offering are El-Gant, an alterations business located to the south at 1574 Piedmont, and Cowtippers Steaks & Spirits (former Old Hickory House), located to the north, at 1600 Piedmont Avenue.
Interestingly, in my walk of the property, it seems as though the corporate headquarters of Fox Bros Bar-B-Q, along with "BlackHole Records" and "Nolen/Reeves Music Incorporated" are located at 1574B, above the alterations shop. It's worth noting that Dan Nolen and Mike Reeves are listed as CFO and CEO respectively of Smith's Olde Bar, LLC.
The "Morningside Strip Center" property is zoned C1 and is in the the Atlanta BeltLine Overlay District, within NPU-F.
Under the headline "POTENTIAL USES" in the materials, we find the following:
"Ownership has positioned the tenancy so that the buildings can be repurposed for urban retail and/or entertainment in the near term. The site could be potentially completely redeveloped; however, due to the age and history, this may require extensive negotiation with the neighborhoods and NPU."
As a native Atlantan, I have fond memories of attending 99X shows at such venues as The Coca-Cola Roxy, The Masquerade and Smith's Olde Bar. I worry that the character and affordability of these venues will soon be lost forever.
One can hope that the new owners retain Smith's, but the pessimist in me sees some developer coming in and redeveloping the entire parcel.
What are your thoughts on this issue? What would you like to see happen to the property? What is your fondest memory of Smith's Olde Bar?
Please share your thoughts below.