Blues Alley: Talk of Moving or Staying?

Blues Alley is in the alley at 1073 Wisconsin Ave., NW.
Max Lyons
Blues Alley is in the alley at 1073 Wisconsin Ave., NW.

A Washington Business Journal blog, Biz Beat, got people buzzing today about a Georgetown institution: Blues Alley, founded in 1965. It is such an landmark that the alley it is located along is named Blues Alley, NW.

The report headlined Blue Alley's being the "subject of tax break bill," according to the Journal. It also set off concern that the jazz club might be moving from its 1073 Wisconsin Ave., NW, location.

The Georgetowner contacted Blues Alley executive director Harry Schnipper April 1 about the Journal item. "He is making a mountain out of a mole hill," Schnipper said. As for the "tax break bill," Schnipper said that he "talked to Jack Evans several year ago," but that's about it. Schnipper also said that he had not read the Journal story.

"There’s so much that could happen with Georgetown’s Blues Alley — perhaps an expansion, perhaps a relocation, perhaps a new venue," wrote Michael Neibauer in the Journal. "I spoke on Monday with club owner Harry Schnipper about his plans, and here’s what I learned, in a nutshell: Schnipper has spoken with Hines Interests LP about going to CityCenterDC, with PN Hoffman & Associates, Inc., about moving to the southwest Waterfront and with Hyattsville and Alexandria officials. He is on the shortlist to operate the D.C.-owned Lincoln Theatre. . . . But Schnipper offered no additional details. I can’t say whether the discussions keyed on a relocation of Blues Alley or an expansion."

“Right now,” Schnipper told the Journal, “I’m focused on the Lincoln Theatre.”

According to the Journal, "Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans introduced a bill in January to provide 'historic music cultural institutions' with a 10-year property tax abatement, along with deed recordation and transfer tax abatements, for newly leased or purchased property in the District. The legislation would apply only to corporations that have operated a commercial venue for a minimum of 45 years and hosted a minimum of 100 live musical performances in each of the last five years."

“It’s geared toward trying to help, to keep them [Blues Alley] in Georgetown, to keep them in that location,” Evans told the Journal. “Blues Alley is a landmark.”

There was one more thing that Schnipper did mention to the Georgetowner, when it questioned him about the Journal report: "We don't own that building."

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Tue, 27 Jun 2017 10:06:26 -0400

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