The Nash in Roosevelt Row is looking for a new location, according to managing director Steve Maun.
The jazz club is currently located at 110 East Roosevelt Street, inside a building recently purchased by True North Studio, a real estate development firm with a significant footprint in the area.
True North bought the building several months ago for just under $2 million, Maun says. The change in ownership didn't factor into the club's decision to move. The Nash had already started looking for a new location last fall when Maun came on board, knowing that its lease at the current location would expire in August 2020.
Named for Phoenix drummer Lewis Nash, the venue opened in April 2012 and has provided a robust lineup of performances and educational programming since. It’s also home to the nonprofit Jazz in Arizona, launched in 1977, which promotes jazz appreciation and performance. Joel Goldenthal serves as executive director.
The Nash has earned a reputation well beyond Arizona. The Chicago-based jazz magazine DownBeat has included The Nash in its international jazz venue guide every year since 2014.
Venue leaders have just over a year to find a new location before their lease expires. Maun says they'd like to stay in Roosevelt Row due to its status as a burgeoning hub for arts and culture in Phoenix, but they've been scouting other downtown Phoenix locations as well.
Maun declined to share information on specific properties they've explored, but says they've been looking at both existing properties and vacant lots, which means they could build a new venue at some point.
"It would make sense from an economic perspective if lease prices keep going up in Roosevelt Row, and we get get priced out of the market," he says. "If we find a location that fits our mission, having our own building would help us control our own destiny."
It’s possible the venue could relocate before the lease expires next August if they find a new location. For now, Maun says, the sale won't affect musicians or audiences, and the managing director wants to be sure audiences know they're not disappearing, just considering all their options.
Another change is coming to the building this year. Justin Evans plans to open a new craft beer bar called The Theodore in mid- to late summer just east of The Nash, where Short Leash Hot Dogs was located before moving to the Melrose district. Maun sees that as a good thing, since it will likely bring more foot traffic to the area.
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Meanwhile, change is happening all around the building, distinguished by its bright purple paint. Jonathon Vento, principal for True North Studio, plans to wrap a parking garage just west of The Nash with Airstream-style trailers for a project he calls the Roosevelt Land Yacht Club.
Several Roosevelt Row arts venues have closed or relocated in recent years as the pace of new development has quickened, but that hasn’t dissuaded The Nash from wanting to remain there. Maun says it's possible they'll relocate to another True North Studio project called Knipe Village, which is being built on Second Street north of Roosevelt Street.
Maun says a relocation decision could come in a matter of months. "We probably need to decide around Labor Day or early fall," he says.
"Our preference is to stay in the neighborhood," Maun says. "But you gotta do what you gotta do."