Dustin Keene, the entrepreneur who operates Common Grounds coffee shop, is opening a new music venue in the hip south-end area of downtown Greensboro under development by Andy Zimmerman.
Keene said he hopes to open the music venue, likely to be named the Lewis Street Music Foundry, in April on the back side of Boxcar Bar & Arcade. The building where the defunct Lotus Lounge nightclub was located is currently being renovated to house the barcade.
Keene said he has a deposit down for the space in the back, which is accessed through an alley that intersects with Lewis Street and runs parallel to South Elm Street. He and Zimmerman plan to meet on Friday or at the beginning of next week to sign a lease.
The capacity for the venue is likely to be 300 or 350.
“Seven nights a week is what we’re planning for,” Keene said. “I want to have music as many nights a week as possible. When you’re working with booking companies, you don’t say, ‘We’re only open Thursday through Saturday.’ If they have an awesome band coming through on a Monday, you book them. It’s going to be an opportunity-based situation. We’ll have everything from jazz to blues, strings. We’re working with the [Piedmont] Blues Society. We want it to have a community feel so that all the local musicians can hang out and collaborate.”
The venue’s name is a nod to its function in the early 1900s as a foundry. Keene said Alan Peterson, a local musician, tracked down the original owner’s granddaughter.
“I believe there’s artifacts and machinery that she might let us display,” Keene said. “It has a brick and steel and foundry feel, but it’s also very warm and intimate.”
The block of Lewis Street running west from South Elm Street, which connects to the Railyard, has rapidly developed in the past four years, beginning with the opening of Gibbs Hundred Brewing Co., and continuing with the addition of the HQ Greensboro coworking space and Greensboro Distilling Co. The Forge makerspace is located around the corner to Eugene Street.