Old firehouse business plan revealed

 

New owners of Salisbury’s downtown firehouse are developing a hot new idea — transforming the historic building into space for entertainment, businesses and possibly a brewery in the basement.

Joey Gilkerson, who, with his brother Chris, bought the building for $85,000 last October, said the two will spend about $500,000 to renovate.

It will open as Headquarters Live and be in use by December.

Typically in town, Gilkerson said, patrons pay a cover charge, buy a drink and listen to music in the background when they go out for the evening. At Headquarters Live, guests will buy tickets to see a show, and have a small bar available.

“We really don’t have anything like that in Salisbury,” Gilkerson.

The name refers to the building once being headquarters for the city’s fire department, before becoming Station 16 at Division Street and Circle Avenue downtown, near the library.

The second floor is earmarked for entrepreneur space, particularly new businesses, Gilkerson said, adding he feels there’s a need. The building could also offer community space.

It appraised for less than $200,000 and because it’s an historic building, it must offer public use.

“It’s in fairly good shape. We’ve already done some interior demolition and some roof work,” Gilkerson said, adding the acoustics are “horrible,” but will be improved.

The idea for a music venue is the result of polling town residents, asking what Salisbury lacks. “We heard music over and over,” Gilkerson said.

With a seating capacity of 200, and a possible 400 to 500 standing room only crowd, concerts would be in an intimate setting, Gilkerson said.

“I really don’t have any idea yet who we would try to get to come here. It would be hard to get a John Mayer with only 500 seats unless you charged $150 for a ticket,” he said.

“I think an up-and-coming country artist would be a good idea. We might look at that.”

Contact Susan Canfora at SCanfora@newszap.com.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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