Avondale Estates Towne Cinema may not reopen until next spring

Avondale Estates’ Towne Cinema recently announced its Dec. 15 closing, although as far back as July a company called Please Rock Me, LLC, filed a conditional use permit application to lease the 94-year-old landmark.

Please Rock Me, through a corporate announcement, says it plans on completing “a significant renovation of the space prior to opening that will be historically sensitive but also provide for the upgrades and requirements of today’s performing arts venues.”

Joseph White, who signed the conditional use permit, hasn’t returned calls from the AJC.

Fisher Paty, a partner with Oakhurst Realty Partners, which owns the Towne Cinema, filled in some details. Please Rock Me owns two clubs called 37 Main Rock Café, one in Buford and the other in Gainesville, Ga., both offering music and, according to their Facebook page, “classic American food with a Southern flair.”

Please Rock Me is owned by two brothers, and while the two 37 Mains appear to present mostly cover and tribute bands, Paty believes the Avondale location will focus more on acts with original material. He speculated that Towne Cinema will reopen in the April to June quarter.

“I can’t speak for them and say precisely what renovations they’ll do,” Paty said. “Besides, I think all that is still being planned, determined and priced. I think they will open it up more, improve the ingress and egress and increase the capacity (currently 300).”

Local resident and longtime theater professional, Klaus van den Berg, pointed out that to draw more national type acts, and more variety, the stage needs enlarging along with adding a quality backstage. Tony Longval, who’s run Towne Cinema for the last three years, at one point considered tearing out the back wall to extend the stage.

David Sacks, a member of both Avondale’s Historic Preservation Commission and Architectural Review Board, said that, “Any exterior changes come before us, but we don’t regulate interior changes. Knocking out the back wall, that’s changing the façade and footprint, and that would come before us.”

Before all that, however, Please Rock Me needs approval from the city commissioners, who’ll vote on the application during their Dec 10 meeting.