Music News & Reviews

Cosmic Charlie's has a new home with more parking, thicker walls

The former Lextran bus wash at 109 West Loudon Avenue will become the new home for Cosmic Charlie's, which plans to paint over the existing mural and have another created there.
The former Lextran bus wash at 109 West Loudon Avenue will become the new home for Cosmic Charlie's, which plans to paint over the existing mural and have another created there. cbertram@herald-leader.com

Cosmic Charlie's, the music venue which is leaving National Avenue after noise complaints by the neighbors, has found a new home.

The bar will be going into a 5,000-square-foot bus wash building on the former Lextran bus station complex on the corner of North Limestone and West Loudon Avenue that is becoming a mixed-use redevelopment with offices, food and retail businesses on a five-acre campus.

John Tresaloni, co-owner of Cosmic Charlie's with Mark Evans, said Wednesday that they hope to open in the new space by the first week of September but construction delays could push that back.

The building's owner, Chad Needham, will be installing plumbing and plans to ask the city for permission to build a mezzanine level in the club, Tresaloni said.

Once the infrastructure is done, Cosmic Charlie's will put in the bar and the stage for music, which shouldn't cause noise problems he said because the building has 8-inch-thick concrete walls.

Parking also shouldn't be an problem, Tresaloni said, with all the space that used to be used to park the city's bus fleet.

The last show at the current location will be June 15 with the band Of Montreal.

The bar as the new Cosmic Charlie's will be similar, with 50 to 60 canned beers and cocktails available. There should be room for more patrons because the space is slightly bigger, Tresaloni said.

"It will be more of a standing-room-only kind of place, with limited seating, so we’ll be able to have more tickets," he said.

Needham was a little bit hesitant to lease to Cosmic Charlie's, he said, but he expects that with the construction of the building "noise will not be an issue."

The cavernous building on an industrial site is one Needham didn't have any existing plans for.

"I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to use that for. They came to me and asked if that would be a spot that would work, and I don’t have a tenant for it. It’s just sitting vacant," he said. "They have an opportunity to prove they can be good neighbors, in a building that probably much better suits them. ... That’s why I feel comfortable at least giving them a try."

And if noise does become an issue, Needham said, "we can go our separate ways."

Meanwhile, he will be focused on redeveloping the corner building, with its Art Deco-styling, soaring ceiling and light-filled space. The main bus terminal, which used to be a Greyhound bus station, will become the Greyline Station & Market, housing an expanded North Lime Coffee and Donuts, North Limestone Community Development Corp. known as NoLi CDC, Lexington Community Radio, an event space called Clerestory and the Building Institute of Central Kentucky, a trade school operated by the local Building Industry Association.

The mural of buses on the outside of the bus wash building will be painted over. A new mural will be coming.

They have already contacted Prhbtn, an annual mural celebration, to offer the giant canvas to an artist. With the 100-foot wall, Tresaloni said, they expect someone can create "one heck of a mural."

The 1928 Southeast Greyhound Line headquarters, long empty and slated for demolition, will become public market, shops, offices and more. Lexington developer Chad Needham has restored 42 other Lexington buildings since 2009.

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