adrian is rad


this is why I like Pittsburgh

Filed under: — adrian @ 11:05 am

You can get a large stone church for under $300K. It still has the pews and organ and everything!

16 Responses to “this is why I like Pittsburgh”

  1. andy (not andyl) Says:

    show space?

    That’s what I’m thinking.
    Now all we need is an investor. And good bands in Pittsburgh. And some art.

  2. Adrian Says:

    Exactly. Perhaps a restaurant and bar too. Indie movies on off nights? Maybe an art gallery. Music store? there are so many good things that you can pair with a music venue!

    I’ll invest. Seriously. Not alone. I can’t afford that, but Pat Bird and I talked about this.

    We can book good bands. We’d need to get out the word though. That’d be the hard part.

  3. andy (not andyl) Says:

    Heck, I mean – we wouldn’t have to choose.
    Shows some nights. I could run sound.
    Movies the other nights: I could handle film booking and projection.
    Art up on the walls all the time.
    A bar.
    It’d be one of the more exciting places in Pittsburgh, at least for the 18-30 hip crowd.

    Not that I’d have money to invest, but I’d certainly be interested in being part of it.

  4. Milkshake Says:

    Ok guys – on a scale from 1 to 10 how serious are you being about buying this church? 1 = it’s just fantasy. 10 = I have money and I am going to make this happen.

  5. Adrian Says:

    I’d say I’m like 6. I mean I’d definitely put in the money if we came up with a good plan for running the place. You know, since none of us have a solid experience with running a restaurant or a bar or booking bands or getting various permits or really anything else other than a)good ideas, b) running sound and c) projecting movies.

  6. andy (not andyl) Says:

    I’d say a 3, for me. I simply don’t have the money to make this kind of thing happen. I’ve had to save up to buy new tires for my car.

    Let’s face it, spending 300K on a church may not be the best way to start a business like this. And that’s not even taking into consideration the money we’d have to put into it to turn the church into an aceptable venue. That said:

    Nothing would beat the cool factor of this place. Nothing. Adrian was with me at one of my top 3 shows of all time, A Silver Mount Zion at the Union Chapel in London. It was amazing.

    If this could happen, I’d jump at the chance to spend 60+ hours a week helping it reach fruition. I’m simply powerless (at this point) to get something like this off the ground.

    (1) The UC is closing soon… It was such a beautiful venue for live shows…
    (2) During the daytime – recording studio!

  7. jesse Says:

    I’ll put up money if you guys actually have a well thought out business plan (and think it will be profitable!)

  8. andy (not andyl) Says:

    To revise an above comment of mine: maybe it wouldnt’ be so difficult to afford the place – on the webpage advertising the church, it estimates a $1500/month mortgage payment, if there’s a $30k down payment.

    That’s pretty freaking cheap!!@! That works out to about $.06 a month/sq ft. My girlfriend and I are paying $1100/month for an apartment – certainly a profit-based entity (especially one with a liquor license) could handle that mortgage payment…

  9. Milkshake Says:

    I haven’t shared this with too many people – but it’s been kind of a dream of mine to open a music venue/coffee shop kind of deal in Pittsburgh. There were a few great venues in New Jersey where local bands would play and a few nights a week they would bring in national small label acts. They seemed to be doing well – the places were packed almost every night (not always a true indication of success but still). I never pursued it because it would be hard for one person with no experience to start it up. But if you guys are serious please include me in the talks.

    I just wonder if Pittsburgh is “hip” enough for this kind of thing.

    And what would you do with the pews? Just wondering.

  10. jon Says:

    Some thoughts:

    sweet sweet building. i mean sweet.

    liquor licenses are extremely difficult to get in pittsburgh; in general, i understand it takes years. thats a big part of being profitable.

    from my experience in pittsburgh (one year, but i went out a hell of a lot), that town can definately support venues like that, though its very difficult to do so outside of the strip and east carson.
    strong counter examples: mr. small’s has done awesome, also a church re-use correct? but also a skate park and recording studio. want a building that big? has to be very multi-use.

    and uses for off hours. another great place to think of is shadow lounge in east liberty. they do hip hip/spoken word stuff. they don’t have a liquor license, they operate basically as a coffee house during the day. but also, they do a late late night waffle breakfast, i think starting at like 4 or 5 am saturday night / sunday morning. pretty popular.

    pittsburgh seems to love new stuff, stuff that would be really trendy in other cities, but in pittsburgh, is actually just novel. example: hookah bar
    thats my girlfriend’s friend’s place. he did the business model for a college class, and just went ahead and did it. they’re doing pretty well.

    churches often have big kitchens, but means you can do food. food is great. there’s already church brew works in pittsburgh. then there’s zenith on the south side, anitique shop, but also vegetarian restaurant.

    ok, this is lengthy. to summarize:
    i think the building offers a huge number of possibilities. i dont know anything about shows and booking though.
    its biggest weakness is location, its very difficult to get attention when you’re even a little little bit out of the way. scope out whats in the area and see how they’re doing.

  11. Milkshake Says:

    I think this would be an excellent location. It’s about a half mile away from Heinz Field. I’ve read in the paper that they are going to really build up the space between the stadiums over the next few years. It’s going to be the new night life section of the city.

    I wonder how much parking is available around this church. That would be important for big shows.

    If this really happens – I hope the shows will be all ages.

  12. Tark Says:

    Why not buy it with a bunch of people, live in it, and do the “art space thing” too. That way, at the very least, you’ve got a cool place to live in. Split between several people, that mortgage is beans. Whatever happens booking shows etc. happens, and the rest is gravy.

    I’d be down to do something like this in theory, but I’ve never been to Pittsburgh (other than Starlake Pavilion) and I have a feeling Bischoff hates me after my Steelers harassment.

    But if an opportunity like this presented itself in Boston I’d be all over it. Do it, so I can live through you vicariously.

  13. Milkshake Says:

    My knowledge of zoning laws is pretty much nonexistent but I’m wondering if we would even be allowed to make a church into a bar or music venue in the first place. I see the link says it’s “zoned commercial” but does that mean you can do whatever you want with it?

    Regardless I think if you guys are serious about this you might want to work this out rather quickly. I know this isn’t the kind of thing you should jump in to – but somebody else could decide to buy that church tomorrow. Maybe mass e-mails could be exchanged among all interested parties. Just an idea.

    Another reason to try and hurry – I’m looking to rent an apartment in NYC sometime in the next few weeks. If you make a strong case maybe I will invest those thousands into the church instead. It sure would be fun…

  14. Tark Says:

    If it’s zoned commercial I think you can usually do anything. There may be problems with living in it. Some cities/states have separate commercial zoning for bars/clubs, but I have no idea if that’s the case in Pittsburgh.

    A call to city hall would solve this problem in 30 seconds.

  15. Adrian Says:

    New thoughts:

    Film everything about the process. Make a documentary. We struggle and fail, it does well. We struggle and succeed, it does even better.

    Other thoughts:

    Re: pewsSell some of them (nice pews bring a price), keep some of them for possibly seating or for booths.

    Re: zoningZoned commercial, I think, means you could sell baseball cards or screen movies there. Selling any prepared food would require a permit from the city health department. Selling booze would require a liquor license. Having bands might require a noise permit.

    Re: all ages shows Clubs are usually 18 or 21+ because they want to serve alcohol and that makes it easier. Clubs want to serve alcohol because it makes them money.

    Re: area of the city Clubs can be in bad areas. It works in DC and to an extent, Boston. However, a coffee house in a bad area of town? it matters more there. Additionally, what’s the public transportation like, especially to and from Oakland. I don’t think a club can succeed in Pittsburgh without the college crowd.

    Re: “buy it now This is Pittsburgh. I doubt it’ll go tomorrow. Even if it does, it’d be stupid to buy it today without a well thought-out plan.

  16. Milkshake Says:

    When I was under 21 nothing pissed me off more than shows that weren’t all ages. If I had known of a way to get a fake ID I would have done it not to drink – just to see some of my favorite bands. How sad is that!?!

    I know as an owner you have to be about the money – but if I was doing this I would want to be a little more than just about the money. Of course, you still have to pay the bills – but you could at least allow minors to pay double cover or something. Draw a big X on their hands.

    Some bands refuse to play clubs that aren’t all ages because that agree with me (Q and not U for example). Just something to think about…

Powered by WordPress