A group of about 60-70 people — neighbors, musicians, downtown supporters — gathered at Iron Bird Cafe as Fulton 55 general manager Tony Martin went over his plans for the venue, and eventually turned it over for questions. Since some neighboring business and churches have already expressed their disapproval for the up-to-500-capacity concert venue, it seemed this is where things might be explosive. But not really.
“When we open, it’s going to be all about working together,” Martin said.
Only Stephen Carlson, pastor of nearby Bethel Lutheran Church, spoke in opposition of the venue (video of his exchange with Martin below) — citing many of the reasons we’ve already heard, parking being foremost.
Most of the other questions were procedural things, asked by people from the music community: what kind of acts will be booked? what will booking fees be like? when will Fulton 55 open?
Ranae Johnson, who co-owns Wildrose Chapel & Funeral Home across the street from the venue, showed up to the meeting, but didn’t speak. She’s been one of the most critical neighbors thus far. After the meeting, she said her opinion hadn’t changed, but she was there more to listen than speak up.
When the meeting was over (it lasted about an hour), Martin said he was pleased with both the attendance and what was said by community members. He re-iterated that the people are neighbors and he wants work with them, not against them.
Here are a few more tidbits about Fulton 55 that people might find interesting:
- Shows will generally be earlier than many local clubs– with doors opening around 6 p.m. and music starting by 8 p.m.. Hopes are to be done by 10:30 or 11 p.m.
- Martin stood by his comment that got some people riled up in a previous Beehive post. He had said Fulton 55 would not book music that had a “history of bringing in a rough crowd.” But he clarified: “Hip-hop is gonna be cool, but it’s gotta be the right type of hip-hop.” He also said the venue would host a wide variety of entertainment.
- One solution he offered to help parking, is installing a healthy number of bike racks, and encouraging people to bike to shows.
- When asked about street-level noise, Martin said: “I guarantee that a car passing on Divisadero will make more noise than the venue.”
- One comment from Martin that got good approval from the local band members in attendance: “You’re not going to pay to play.”
- There was a petition out for Fulton 55 supporters to sign. Martin said he plans to make an online version as well. The next hurdle for Fulton 55 is a Dec. 1 planning commission meeting at 6 p.m. People — whether they supported or objected to the venue — were encouraged to attend that and voice their opinions. It’ll be held in the council chambers at City Hall.