The Ready Room to Bring 8,000 Square-foot Music Venue to The Grove

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A new 8,000 square foot music venue will be rocking The Grove soon. The Ready Room will be run by Firebird talent buyer Mike Cracchiolo. The project is set to include adjacent retail and office space as well. The general contractor is Sitelines, Inc. and SPACE Architects has designed the build-out. The project's five separate spaces, collectively addressed as 4191 Manchester Avenue, have been long vacant and are some of the least aesthetically appealing commercial fronts in the burgeoning neighborhood. The project may surpass the previous ugly duckling champion SPACE, which knows a thing or two about turning a homely building into something great.

The Firebird will continue at its 2706 Olive location where over the past five years Mike has built a unique venue attracting national acts such as The Melvins, Panic! At The Disco and Mission of Burma as well as hosting local events. That location is an understated former bank built in 1966. The unremarkable buildings on Manchester perfectly suit Mike's view of how a venue should work. "The point is not for the venue to be the focus," he told nextSTL. "Like a good umpire or bass player, if they're doing their job, you don't notice them." The Ready Room is being built to suit and will accommodate approximately 800 for events.


{the westmost bays will become The Ready Room, tenants are being sought for three adjacent storefronts}


{The Ready Room will occupy what have been some of the historic strip's more plain buildings}

The chance to build out a space from scratch and in the middle of The Grove was an opportunity the Southwest Garden resident couldn't pass up. While Mike was being courted by several venues as a talent buyer, he stumbled upon the space on Manchester. "I'm putting some of my chips on The Grove," Mike said. "It has the best chance to hit all the marks." While he says parking will be a concern (75 spaces may be leased from Archway Chemical next door), something the Firebird has the luxury to not worry about, the community, the location and other investment in the area make it the right place.

While keeping an eye open for a new space, Mike considered all the expected places; Cherokee Street, Morganford, the Central West End and more. All had potential, but none quite fit his personality. Flatly stating "I'm not creative enough", Cherokee, which Mike loves for its grassroots, bootstrap culture, was off the list. The Morganford strip was a little too residential and out of the way. The CWE and The Loop are too mainstream and expensive. The Grove seemed just right.

While the decision to open The Ready Room was made before the big announcement of Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. opening a new retail location and big brewing facility at the west end of The Grove, the development fit Mike's vision for a great neighborhood to support a venue. "There used to be four or five spots in The Loop I'd hit in one night," Mike told nextSTL. "But not anymore, that's what The Grove is becoming." 


{the south (Manchester) facing facade of The Ready Room and adjacent storefronts}

SPACE_the ready room

{The Ready Room is being built to suit and designed by SPACE}

The owners of Sub Zero Vodka Bar in the city's Central West End are opening Tahaa Twisted Tiki in the corner building adjacent to this project. The space was previously the Premium Lounge. It was just this spring when Atomic Cowboy announced a renovation to their indoor venue The Foxhole. Now "Demo", it can hold 200 for a show. But the big news was the plan to rethink Atomic Cowboy's outdoor space to accommodate as many as 1,000. And the 300-seat Gramophone just rocked past its five-year anniversary. In addition to the bar scene, The Grove may just give St. Louis a concentrated live music scene its lacked.

In addition to The Ready Room, tenants are being sought for adjoining office and retail spaces of 2,858 sf, 916 sf, and 1,436 sf. Restrooms and offices are placed at rear of building, all rear windows will be filled with masonry and the back wall will be framed out, insulated and covered in sound proofing. Commercial and residential development has come to The Grove, and immediately behind the venue is a UIC custom-built home we have featured on nextSTL, and the renovation of adjacent apartments is well underway.

The venue is planning for a 3am liquor license with a 1:30am closing and will open early next year. A specific opening date is dependent on bookings. In addition to concerts, Mike plans to make the venue a popular place for comedy shows, weddings, art openings and other events. Mike has a well-earned and enjoyed reputation for running a professional venue and bringing talent to St. Louis. Though he's no longer there, the Riverfront Times named his hiring by Cicero's as one of 2011's "Biggest St. Louis Music News Stories" and he was named "Best Bouncer" in 2009. "I can only open the best place I can, run it safely and ethically," Mike concludes.


{The Firebird at 2706 Olive}

SPACE before_after
{SPACE transformed a homely industrial building into a modern architecture office}


{Urban Chestnut is opening a new retail location and brewing facility in The Grove}

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