NEW ALBANY — A live music venue, a bank and office spaces are some of the new additions coming to Market Street in downtown New Albany through a new redevelopment project.
The Jimmy's Music Center location at the corner of Market Street and Pearl streets is in the process of some major changes. Developer Steve Resch, owner of Resch Construction, purchased the space in November, and he is building offices in the historic building, along with a concert venue and bar in the basement.
Jimmy's Music Center remains open in a smaller space in the same location at 123 E. Market St., and owner James Gaetano is planning to eventually relocate the music shop to another downtown space. A space at the corner of the building's first floor has already been leased to New Washington State Bank, and the other side (where Jimmy's Music Center is now operating) will be a retail space. The second and third floors will be used for office space.
Joe Phillips, owner of Pints & Union, plans to open a live music venue called Misery Loves Company, or the MLC Club, in the downstairs area. The idea of starting a live music venue has been floating around in his head for about five years, he said, and the concept for the upcoming business was inspired by Jimmy Can't Dance, a jazz bar located beneath Another Place Sandwich Shop in Louisville.
The Market Street venue would be open in evenings, and Resch hopes to complete the space by next spring. Phillips said the MLC Club will feature a standard concert venue bar, and he plans to book bands that are traveling nationwide. The space will feature acts in genres such as jazz, folk, blues, swing, R&B, indie and soul, and performances would be ticketed.
The bar will only be open when an act is booked for the evening, and it will not serve food. He said while the venue would book some local musicians for ticketed performances, there will not be any open mic-style events, and he wants to bring something new to New Albany by focusing on touring musicians.
"It's not going to be like Floyd County's local acts," Phillips said. "That niche is filled, and I don't want to replicate that. It's about a nice touring act venue in Southern Indiana."
The space will have a 1920s to 1930s European vibe, according to Phillips. He said the name "misery loves company" fits the themes of R&B, soul, jazz, blues, literature and art, since art often occurs during difficult moments in life, and he is aiming for an artistic, underground style of venue.
The MLC Club, which would also be available to book for private events during the week, would provide a different atmosphere from other New Albany businesses since it will not function as a regular bar, Phillips said, and it will have a "more romantic and elevated music experience." He hopes that it will help other local businesses by bringing a wider demographic of people to downtown New Albany.
He said the venue will tie in closely with touring acts in Louisville.
"More of the touring acts in Louisville will see New Albany, because they will book the day before or the day after to play," Phillips said. "So it's more incorporated into the Greater Louisville area and not just isolating ourselves to New Albany."
Resch said they will likely use 2,500 square feet of the basement for the concert venue, and he plans to raise part of the ceiling to make more room for the stage. The space has exposed brick and concrete floors, and it is the only building he has that includes a "good, usable" basement.
The historic Market Street location actually includes a set of three buildings. Throughout its history, the space has been home to a retail and wholesale grocery store, a Piggly-Wiggly grocery store and F. W. Woolworth Company 5 & 10 Cent Store. The third floor was once used as a dance hall.
New Washington State Bank will open in September, and Resch plans to finish the entire renovation project in the next year or year and a half. He said instead of a modernized style, it will have the old-school look of a turn of the 19th century bank.
He said he is essentially taking the building back to its shell and starting over, and he intends to remove the exterior paint to restore the building to its natural brick. He also plans to add new windows to the entire space, a new storefront and a roof deck on one side of the building that could be used as a common space for the tenants to give it "kind of a big city feel."
Resch said the renovations to the building will be similar to Resch Construction's work across the street at The Root, a co-working space and office building that was completed in 2018 after redeveloping the historic building at 110 Market St.
"We're taking one of the most prominent buildings downtown on probably the biggest intersection, and we're bringing it back to life, so to speak," Resch said. "The Root has really taken off, and we're wanting to do the same kind of class A office space in a building built in the [late 1800s]. I think the trend is that people are gravitating toward that kind of space versus your typical commercial building with drop ceilings and florescent lighting. We're doing something a little bit different."