When downtown Phoenix venue Foundry on First shut its doors in mid-November, most music fans assumed the worst. Rumors spread that the music venue was done for, in the wake of canceled shows, reported employee drama, and a strange media silence.
Not so, says part-owner Tim Thomas.
"We're looking to reopen in January or February," he says, explaining that the newly re-branded venue will be called Foundry Live, feature a seven-day-a-week restaurant, new investors, a nightclub component, and a PR company brought in to handle new media.
The building closed in mid-November to finish construction, with Thomas acknowledging that the venue initially opened sooner than it should have. "This was created by local developers that had a good handle on local music and bars but really didn't have a good handle on [operating] a national, large, destination-type of venue that could carry the likes of a Jay Z, [the kind of appearance] that could really put us on the map."
The venue's July 10 opening was marked by city inspectors and a fierce haboob, but the venue seemed to get its footing over the next couple months, hosting successful shows by Molotov and Led Zeppelin 2. But it was also marred by unfinished details -- general manager Keith Jackson, who will continue on as GM when the venue reopens in 2012, described the Saturday, July 30 sold-out performance by Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers as "hellish," due to problems with the venue's air conditioning.
Thomas states that Jackson will handle the bar, staffing, and local music booking, that Danny Zelisko Presents will bring in "old-school rock 'n' roll touring acts" (Zelisko has not confirmed any shows at the venue as of yet), and that the venue will expand into club culture, booking more DJs and electronic acts. A full-service restaurant is scheduled to be included in the expanded venue, with Thomas citing the nearby (and smaller-sized) Crescent Ballroom as an example of how he would like to combine a lounge, live music, bar, and restaurant.
Thomas was tight-lipped regarding specifics but says that more information will be revealed in the following weeks. "Agreements are in place with operators, food providers, restaurateurs, and concept and design," he says. "As far as the date construction starts and finishes, that's a little bit gray."
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Thomas and Jackson both acknowledge that the venue's silence since closing doors led to speculation and rumors, and though they declined to discuss specifics of staffing, Thomas states: "I know [everyone] wants to get back to work, even if it's once or twice a week."
Exact dates and plans will be revealed soon, says Thomas. "Right now, we've concentrating on finishing construction, and doing this thing right."
Up on the Sun will bring more details as the story develops.