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Welcome to Towne – Music venue approved

Avondale Estates Decatur

Welcome to Towne – Music venue approved

Avondale City Commissioners during the commission's June 23 meeting. File Photo by Dan Whisenhunt
Avondale City Commissioners during the commission's June 23 meeting. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Avondale City Commissioners held their regular meeting on June 23. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

It’s settled: there will be a new music venue in Avondale Estates in the old Towne Cinema theater in the city’s downtown.

City Commissioners approved a conditional use permit application for the venue during the commission’s June 23 meeting.

The applicant is Tony Longval, a roadie who wants to transform the historic building into the Avondale Theatre, a music venue that will rival some of the best in the nation.

“It’s a beautiful thing,” Longval said after the meeting. He said residents can expect to see work going on in the building within two months.

Longval has worked in the music business for decades and has spent the last seven and a half years as a drum tech and “merch guy” for the band Sister Hazel. He said the band is fully supportive of his idea. He said he has three investors backing his three phase project.

Some residents had questions about the parking situation around the Tudor Village. Fisher Paty, with building owner Oakhurst Realty Partners, said the building has a parking variance due to its historic status. He noted that other venues, like Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, don’t offer on-site parking.

“Well, there’s a lot of public parking available around the property,” Paty said. “We do have some parking on the property. There’s a lot of public parking available on the streets.”

Mayor Pro Tem Terry Giager, who is filling in while Mayor Ed Rieker is traveling overseas, said parking will continue to be an issue for the city as the pace of development increases. He pointed out that the city talking to MARTA about leasing a lot located across from Savage Pizza that could create 120 to 150 parking spaces within walking distance of the city’s downtown.

“We’re going to have to pay attention to parking,” Giager said. “And parking is not cheap.”

Giager also talked about the city’s solution to resident concerns about the venue turning into a “nightclub.”

The city came up with a simple answer: no dance floor.

“There cannot be a designated dance floor,” Giager said. “I guess that includes poles, of course.”

Longval has said he has no intention of running anything other than a classy establishment in the city’s downtown.

“It’s not going to happen,” he told Decaturish last week. “That’s not what I’m here for.”

Giager said the new music venue is another sign of Avondale’s renaissance. During the meeting, City Commissioners also approved a conditional use permit for Watts Whiskey Distillery, which will be located at 121 Center Street in a building owned by Mayor Rieker.

“I’m just real excited,” Giager said. “We’re booming here. We’ve got development that’s interested in the whole area. This theater, this media arts thing for family and adults, is just going to be fantastic. We’re thrilled to have them come in. We’re thrilled to have the whiskey distillery come in. (We’re) getting the niches filled now that we need as a city.”