The former Buster's music venue on Manchester Street has sold for $1.01 million to a trio of Pikeville businessmen who plan to keep it as an entertainment venue.
Mitch Potter, working with business partners Adam Hatton and Ryan Schwartz, doing business as Manchester Realty, bought the property at 899 Manchester on Tuesday from Barry McNees.
Buster's Billiards & Backroom, which originally was on Main Street, was displaced by the CentrePointe project in September 2009. Clark and Jessica Case reopened it as an anchor for the Distillery District. But Buster's closed abruptly in December after struggling financially.
McNees said Wednesday that he thinks the new venture will enhance the district, which now includes several restaurants and bars, a craft brewery and a craft distillery, with more planned.
The buyers "have got a strong, diverse entrepreneurial background, and they care about and are energized by what's happening in the Distillery District," McNees said.
The group that bought the venue runs a restaurant and club called Bank 253 and is opening an Irish pub, both in Pikeville, Hatton said Wednesday. They haven't settled on a name for the Lexington venue, he said.
"We're looking generally right now to keep it the same," Hatton said. "We absolutely fell in love with the area, fell in love with the building. It's kind of been really, really cool what's going on down there, and we want to be a part of it. We do want to do it right, so we want to take our time."
Manchester Realty's Schwartz agreed.
"We are excited about the opportunity to join Lexington's thriving scene of independent music, and we hope to fill the gap between the many smaller venues and the larger venues such as Rupp Arena," Schwartz said. "We plan to focus on presenting concerts by national and regional artists, as well as hosting other festivals and events."
He said the group was working with a Lexington event-management company, and the venue was expected to be fully operational in a few months.