Nestled between an overpass, an oil change shop and a single residency hotel, the former Starline supply store at 645 West Grand Ave., is becoming a tastemaker nexus under the management of three Oakland transplants and their artists network.
Inspired by art murmur and the West Oakland art scene, Troy Bayless, Adam Hatch and Sam Strand envision a multi-use venue that integrates artist work spaces and a bar in the building's first floor with a ballroom, a restaurant and residencies in the building's second floor. Combined, they plan for an arts-based curated social club.
"Our focus is on restoring the building back into a gathering place. We don't just want music shows. We see film screenings, reading series, dance performances, storytelling; a variety centered around the aesthetic of the ballroom," Oakland-based artist Strand said.
Though they do not yet own the four story, 30,000 square foot building, they have a 10-year lease.
The attraction? High ceilings, molded staircases and six large sunset-facing ballroom windows among other original features.
On their way to creating a social club, they must renovate the facade of the building, install a new lighting system, invest in fire safety measures, upgrade the kitchen and obtain a beer and wine license and a cabaret license. They must also file for LLC status.
A bad economy and a history of change for this building notwithstanding, they must acquire financial backers who like their idea and aren't afraid of the building's location or their limited experience on projects of this scope.
"It's a big project," said Adam Hatch who also runs nearby Hatch Gallery and works as a contractor.
"I feel like i've been saying [that we will begin renovating] in two weeks for the past three months. I've done projects before, but nothing of this scale; the scope keeps getting bigger and bigger. The good thing is now we have a fairly detailed sense of what we need to do," he said.