Developers to announce Headquarters Live plans

10-19 Page 1 Cover Headquarters

The owners of Headquarters Live, the new entertainment facility in a former downtown fire station, will announce who they hired to schedule entertainment on Friday, Oct. 17.

Bradley Gillis and Joey Gilkerson said they will maintain ownership of the building, but become landlords to the event coordinator, whose name they wouldn’t release until Friday. Also, at 5:30 that evening, there will be a formal groundbreaking ceremony for the building.

“We will tell everybody who the tenant is and his background and how excited we are to have him as a partner to operate the venue,” Gillis said.

“Construction is on schedule. We will be able to deliver the building prior to Dec. 1 and we’ll have our tenant operating the venue,” Gillis said.

“Regionally, he has experience in music and live entertainment that have reached well over 100s of people in capacity. He has experience. He has connections. He understands routing with entertainment in the industry, where they are coming from, where they are playing, how we can get them to come to Salisbury,” he said.

“He has connections with talent managers and road managers and all professionals in this industry. We realized months ago our core competency is real estate and we needed to identify a partner we could leave in charge of operating Headquarters Live,” Gillis said.

The coordinator will begin by offering a variety of genres including country, jazz and blues, as well as community events and performing arts. He might present series, maybe two or three country shows or several that feature jazz.

“He really wants to hear from the community.  I think over time we’ll find out what sticks,” the 32-year-old Gillis said.

Residents have solid opinions about what kind of entertainment they want, and have been strongly supportive, the 26-year-old Gilkerson said.

“The support has been awesome, almost overwhelming. I can’t walk downtown without two or three people stopping me and saying, ‘Who’s your first act going to be?’” he said, joking that Justin Beiber and Mylie Cyrus will be on stage.

He and Gillis are excited that the building will be ready for occupancy in December, but the date of the first show hasn’t yet been determined. It will be between December and the first quarter of 2015.

On Oct. 21, they will go before the county’s liquor control board to apply to sell beer and wine. There is no kitchen, but they are considering food trucks, catering and partnering with downtown restaurants. They said they have the support of area restaurants.

“Joey and I will have input on how we think the space should be used and I’m sure our tenant will listen,” Gillis said.

“Joey was spot-on when he said not a minute goes by that somebody doesn’t ask him what the first show will be. Headquarters Live has the potential to be a game changer for Salisbury,” he said.

The owners have also talked about retaining the historical fire department history, as they did when they named the building.

“You have to change it a little bit and adapt. It’s an antiquated building, so you have to change it to make it marketable,” Gilkerson said.

“If we took the fire house and made it into a museum, a few people would get to enjoy it, but we want to see it embraced by as many people as possible.”

Contact Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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