The former Handlebar spot could finally get a new life if plans from a new set of developers come to fruition.
Howard Dozier and Paul Talley, who also developed The Comedy Zone and Pour Lounge in downtown Greenville, have signed a 15-year lease for the property at 304 E. Stone Ave., according to Dozier. The property was slated to become The Alley, a high end bowling alley concept based in Charleston, but the developer of the project, Rob Bouton said via e-mail that plans for the project were on hold for now.
Talley and Dozier plan to move forward with their plan to turn the former music venue into two separate businesses.
The upstairs will be an event space called Revel Event Center, and plans call for a spring/summer opening to accommodate wedding season, Dozier said.
Plans for the bottom level are still in discussion, Dozier said, with a bowling alley still a possibility.
“The plans for the bowling alley are not out of the plans for the future,” Dozier said.
The 8500-square-foot Revel Event Center would be able to accommodate as many as 500 people inside and outside, Dozier said. He described the space as an event space concept specializing in full service wedding and reception packages, corporate events, holiday parties, bar mitvahs and birthdays, but also in entertainment events.
“We’ll be able to seat more people here so I can get the bigger comedians like the Amy Schumers and the Chris Tuckers,” Dozier said. “It puts me in a different bracket because a lot of comedians won’t come for less than 300 seats.”
Dozier and Talley expect to spend around $1.5 million on renovations to the 17,000 square-foot property, Dozier said. They expect to begin work in late January.
Plans call for starting with the upper level first, remodeling the interior and exterior, refurbishing the exposed brick and wood, exposing the warehouse windows, and adding “modern lighting, a majestic entry area, a stage for live entertainment and plush dressing rooms for bridal parties.”
The upstairs space is also slated to have a conference room and office, a bar as well as a full kitchen that will house Revel’s full-service catering operation.
“If you’re going to do it just do it right and the best way the first time,” Dozier said of the planned cost. “We’ve learned that in the past so we’re willing to make that upfront investment.”
In addition, the partners have secured 110 parking spaces across the street and behind the building, Dozier said. Valet parking will also be available as well.
The city planning department permitted internal demolition of the stage at the property Sept. 9, 2015, said Councilwoman, Amy Ryberg Doyle. The city’s Board of Zoning Appeals also issued a special exemptions permit Nov. 20, 2014, which is good for two years before it expires.
Doyle said she was excited about the progress on the space.
“We are still excited about The Alley coming to Stone Avenue,” Doyle said. “The Handlebar’s closing has left a hole in the North End, and we want to see music and restaurants and family-friendly businesses open.”
Going forward, Dozier said he and Talley anticipated developing about one project a year in Greenville.
“The downtown is obviously the crown jewel of South Carolina,” Dozier said. “It’s very nice, very clean. The city takes a lot of pride in it, and we appreciate that as business owners.
“I’m assuming in the next couple of months we’ll start looking for another location and doing another themed type space. We have some other really cool ideas that aren’t here that we’d like to bring.”