Note: this article has been updated after speaking with Jagi Katial.
Days of speculation about a possible new music venue on Houston's northside and the ultimate fate of Fitzgerald's ended this morning when Jagi Katial, founder of Pegstar concerts and an owner of Fitzgerald's since 2010, told the Houston Chronicle that Pegstar hopes to open its own larger venue near I-45 and N. Main by next fall.
The site, seen above, is currently a vacant lot at 2915 N. Main at Glen Park/North street, about three blocks from a stop on Metro's recently opened Northline rail extension.
"We're still a boutique company that does a venue, a festival and maybe one day we'll have a second venue," said Katial, who also co-founded Free Press Summer Fest with Free Press Houston's Omar Afra in 2009. "This venue is just another home base for Pegstar."
Katial said the new venue will the Pegstar's base of operations but it will continue booking shows at Fitzgerald's, which he and FPSF partner Omar Afra have leased from owner Sara Fitzgerald since September 2010. The promotion company, which Katial founded in 2001, also books concerts into other Houston venues like Warehouse Live and House of Blues.
The proposed, still-unnamed new venue would have three stages total, one outdoor and two indoor, Katial said. Most of the details are still being ironed out, but capacity of the outdoor venue is expected to be similar to Austin's Stubb's and Scoot Inn, which can both hold in the 1,500-1,800 range. An ice house that would be open regardless of whether there is any music booked is also part of the development.
Tuesday, Katial told Rocks Off that issues like capacity were still being worked out, but he wanted the new place to be similar to Fitzgerald's, "with the opportunity for more shoulder room, and more room for people we have to turn away when we sell out now."
In other words, "maybe an extra belt loop or two," he added.
Katial said he chose the wooded property backing up on Little White Oak Bayou because it "spoke to us." He wants to put a deck out by the bayou, and plans on bringing his Pegstar staff over to the new venue.
"It'll be the same team you're used to seeing," he said.
Before the grand opening, which Katial envisions as 21 straight days of music with "some pretty big acts," he says he hopes to bring in smaller events such as a farmer's market "just to get people used to the area."
Although Katial reckons construction could begin as soon as late this year, he says he is spending very little time on the property right now.
"There's nothing there right now," he says. "We've cleaned it up a little, but we haven't broken ground yet."
Story continues on the next page.
On July 8, a member of the Houston Architecture Forum posted a photo of an "applicaton pending" notice by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission for mixed-beverage, late-hours (12 a.m. to 2 a.m.) and beverage cartage permits on top of a "sale pending" sign regarding the property at 2915 N. Main, part of the Northside Village neighborhood. The applicant for the permits was listed as "White Oak Events, LLC."
According to the source of the thread, "Triton," the corporation has also purchased a lot across Glen Park/North street that would accommodate some 500 parking spots for the new venue. The parties behind White Oak LLC were revealed as Katial and a "tight-knit" group of investors, the Chronicle article said.
Triton's thread continued to draw comments until last week. After claiming to attend a meeting with the property developer last Thursday, he or she came back with an updated the thread on Friday with information that finally drew Reddit's attention:
This is not a second location but the location for Fitzgerald's. It's a 1,500 capacity concert venue with both indoor and outdoor stages. The developer is wanting to build a new street from North St. to Ideal St. for traffic purposes. Whether the bridge they build will be for pedestrian purposes or cars, that is unclear.
They will also be installing new lighting on the North Main bridge over Little White Oak Creek and they will transform Little White Oak Creek to make it more pleasing to the eye... there is trash everywhere right now. The outdoor parts will have incredible views of downtown which you can see in the renderings. The city is working very closely with them. All new sidewalks, all new trees, parks, etc. This will be a major development for this area.
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