We’re all still riding high from Wrecking Ball ATL. We’ve paid our respects and said our goodbyes. But the Masquerade’s saga of moving from the iconic North Avenue mill to the “new and shiny, built from scratch” Fairmont location continues, thanks to a suit filed against the venue, its various LLCs (including Masquerade Exotic Animals, LLC, interestingly enough) and its CEO Brian McNamara.
At the heart of the suit is a new subdivision, West Town, which will border the Masquerade’s Fairmont warehouse location. The homes are to be priced between $550,000 and $650,000. The suit, filed by a Brian Daughdrill on behalf of the builder, Brock Built, claims that the presence of the venue will bring an undue nuisance to the residents in West Town. “Illicit conduct,” noise, and parking issues are among the chief concerns.
Landmark Partners, a real estate investment firm based in Connecticut, wants a judge to block the venue, saying that news of the Masquerade’s move has already caused one buyer to back out of a contract. If the Masquerade is “allowed to develop their proposed use as contemplated,” the suit says, “it will have an immediate adverse impact on both the price-point and size of the homes.”
The plaintiff also claims that the Masquerade is presenting itself to the liquor licensing board as a “convention center,” while simultaneously claiming to “planning and buildings” that it’s a “recreation: eating and drinking establishment,” as a means to “to conceal its true nature as a nightclub in order to avoid parking and other conflicts with the existing zoning and permitting.”
Readers who have been following the Masquerade’s transition will know that Wrecking Ball ATL was intended to be a farewell fest for the venue, with intentions to open in the new location this past weekend, specifically on August 20. And yet, the day before, the Masquerade posted a notice on its Facebook page that said:
“Due to construction delays at our new location, all shows scheduled for this weekend and foreseeable future will take place at our 695 North Ave NE location. Once we have a new move date finalized, we will share that info with all of you!”
Renovations on the warehouse are apparently at a standstill, with little to no progress being made. I drove out there yesterday just to make sure. You’ll find some pictures below. Besides a temporary fence that borders the perimeter of the property, it looks as abandoned and forgotten as it has since ABI Distribution packed its bags years ago. Gutters are falling off the sides of the buildings. There are piles of trash scattered here and there. I stepped over a used condom in the drive.
The place is no less deserted than it was in late June when the Masquerade excitedly announced the move. It’s not clear why the venue proudly proclaimed that it would open on Fairmont on August 20 when construction has yet to begin. And it’s hard to say whether the delay in the move is due to “construction delays,” or because of the suit, or a combination of both. Regardless, it seems that the Masquerade’s future has been thrown into question.
Greg Land of Daily Report first broke the news on Monday.
If you’d like to read the suit for yourself, you can do so here, thanks to Creative Loafing’s Thomas Wheatley.
The Masquerade could not be reached for comment.