So, Tboy has learned a bit more about the plans for the Source Theatre space. It's not so much a rumor anymore, now that Tboy has had a chance to sit down with the developers, who made an appearance at the local ANC meeting this very evening and were nice enough to talk with Tboy afterward.
Here's the poop:
- It's pretty much a done deal.
- By which they mean "We have a contract, and Source has accepted the contract."
- Which means, Tboy is given to understand, that Source can't back out.
Now granted, that's only what the developers say. So far Tboy's got no comment from Source.
But Tboy did talk to Geoff Dawson and Curt Large, respectively the president and COO of Bedrock Companies, and they say at this point they've got a week or so of wiggle room left to line up financing (which they say they have in place) and to have the engineers go through the building (which Tboy is pretty sure the execs said they've already done). But they specifically said that Source has accepted the contract, and that that means Source hasn't got an out.
The guys (who seem perfectly nice, by the way) were at tonight's meeting to get the ANC's buy-in on their move to get a CT-class liquor license--that's a food-'n'-hooch "tavern license" for the uninitiated--for the place. They brought along a one-pager describing what they expect the Standard Bar & Grill to be like. (Click the image at right to see a full-size scan of the document.) But the ANC tabled any action because Bedrock hasn't "placarded" the space yet -- meaning they haven't had one of those nice big signs put up saying "We're applying for a liquor license, please come let us know if you've got a problem with that."
Dawson and Large seemed to be prepared to proceed with the deal even before getting the liquor-license business tidied up; Tboy asked if the contract allowed them an out in case they couldn't get the license, and they answered with a pretty firm "No." Which surprised Tboy, he must say.
Meanwhile, Tboy remains unclear on what the city's involvement in this is. What he heard yesterday from one city official seemed to imply that the office of Deputy Mayor Stan Jackson might have some influence over the fate of the Source, but the Bedrock people don't seem to be operating under that impression. Tboy's working on clarifying that.
Othermeanwhile, Tboy hasn't had any response to queries directed to the office of Source's Peggy O'Brien at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, whom he called to ask about Source's plans. The Bedrock guys said they've got the sense that the terms of the deal will allow Source to get out from under its financial burdens and get back into gear.
They wouldn't let on exactly what they're paying for the space, of course--"market rate" was all they'd say. (Dawson did offer, helpfully, that "market rate" means something on the order of $375 per square foot for commercial real estate. Given what he said was Source's 8,000-square-foot floor plan, that would work out to.... Lucky Spinster, are you getting this? ... roughly $3 million.) A friend of Tboy's who specializes in Logan Circle real estate said those numbers sounded sensible.
At the ANC meeting, commissioner Phil Spalding, who represents the single-member district where the Source space is located, allowed as to how "there has been a little bit of community feedback about this as an existing arts space transitioning to a commercial space, but it is in a commercial zone, it's on 14th Street, it's an appropriate place for this kind of establishment." (He then introduced the Bedrock guys as already being "the owners," but Tboy figures that was a slip.)
"As for the arts use," said Dawson, "in several of our other establishments we have gallery space--significant gallery space--which we encourage local artists to use." Tboy suggested to Dawson afterwards that theaterfolk might ask whether the new incarnation of the Source couldn't accommodate a performance space, in addition to stuff on the walls, and he said maybe. A stage, though, is probably a non-starter: "Anytime you start talking about a stage, people assume you're getting into the music business." And that means NIMBY nightmares that no sensible restaurateur would dream of courting.
For now it looks like the Bedrock guys will be filing with the ABRA, placarding the space, and--per the ANC's rather pointed recommendation--checking in with the Cardozo-Shaw neighborhood association to see how those folks feel about the project, before going back before the ANC next month.
So there you go: That's what Tboy knows so far.