Boulder Daily Camera- July 28, 2010
Teen club looking to move into Boulder's Twenty Ninth Street
By Aimee Heckel Camera Staff Writer
After six years of planning, Boulder appears close to finally having a teen club and café.
The nonprofit The Loft Café and Dance Club is planning to open in September in the former Purple Martini spot, above Laudisio Italian Restaurant at the Twenty Ninth Street mall, said Mark Megibow, a Boulder youth advocate, who is leading the effort.
Megibow said he is close to finalizing a lease with Twenty Ninth Street.
Once completed, Megibow said The Loft will be teen-organized, but adult-managed. A programming board of high-schoolers will book the bands and DJs, hire the staff and even design the menu, which will include "mocktails" (nonalcoholic cocktails) during the evening and coffee in the afternoon.
Organizers are in the midst of a fundraising push, hoping to raise $120,000 to open the doors. After that, Megibow said the facility should be self-sustaining.
The key: dual space, he said.
From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., The Loft will be open for parents and their young children. He said when the kid-friendly Play Grounds restaurant and coffee shop on north Broadway closed, it left a gap in services that The Loft will fill.
The Loft's so-called "Moxie Mornings" will be open for youth classes and activities -- "not duplicating what already exists, but inviting all of those programs to come run in our space," Megibow said.
In the afternoon, the doors will open for teenagers, with a café/sports bar feel. Evenings will feature dancing, live bands and shows. Some events will have minimal cover charge.
"We've created a business plan we know is going to work," Megibow said. "We've done our homework on this, worked very hard on the concept to make sure it's something that can be around for a long time. The only thing I fear, is that we will outgrow the space too quickly."
Plus, Megibow said, The Macerich Co., which manages Twenty Ninth Street, has agreed to work with The Loft on the rental costs of the 4,000-square-foot space to make it more affordable. He did not release specific numbers.
"They've been just as much a partner in this as all of the teen organizations and the rest of the community," Megibow said. "This is something that is desperately needed here in Boulder, and I think everybody knows that."
Heather Drake, senior marking manager for Twenty Ninth Street, said she could not comment because "nothing has been finalized" on the space. The second-floor site has been vacant for two years, but has been leased on various occasions for events, such as parties.
The former Purple Martini space is one of a couple prominent vacancies in Twenty Ninth Street's "Borders Plaza." Drake said mall officials are being very cautious in making sure the uses in the central area of the mall are a good fit for the community.
The Loft also is supported by the city of Boulder's Youth Opportunities Program, the Boulder Valley School District, Growing Up Boulder, the YMCA Breakthrough Arts, Natural Highs, Boulder County Healthy Youth Alliance, Parent Engagement Network, Rock Jaw Productions and the Youth Engagement Network.
Camera Business Writer Alicia Wallace contributed to this report. Contact Staff Writer Aimee Heckel at 303-473-1359 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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