It’s been nearly a year since the Masquerade moved from their iconic space on North Ave to the ghost town that was Underground Atlanta. What was initially announced as a temporary move while the music club examined all their options has now solidified into a long-term lease with WRS Inc. The 10-year deal will likely kickstart other development around Kenny’s Alley, but will also allow for the Masquerade to make structural and cosmetic changes to the new space.
Although the Masquerade will be updating all three of their venues, they will spend most of their time and resources reinventing Heaven, which will be closed from December 12 to February 4. The upcoming remodel is some of the most welcome news from the announcement, especially since the new space feels more sanitized than the old Heaven. According to a report from Creative Loafing, renovators will knock out the ceiling to make room for a new balcony and mezzanine, which will result in a capacity increase from 1,000 to 1,400 people. Hopefully the changes will return some of the grimy soul to the Masquerade, though some of that will simply come with time.
While this is undoubtedly good news for the Masquerade and those who attend shows there, the real question is what Atlanta, and specifically downtown Atlanta, will look like at the end of a 10-year lease for the Masquerade. Will this deal be another stride forward in the effort to make downtown a viable neighborhood for artists, students, and lower middle income residents, or will it be an excuse for developers to pounce on yet another block and throw up luxury condos and lofts?