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Owner behind Crescent Ballroom and Valley Bar to open new venues

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Posted at 1:53 PM, Oct 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-14 22:58:31-04

Next year, downtown Phoenix will hopefully have two more venues to celebrate art.

Charlie Levy, the man behind Stateside Presents, Crescent Ballroom and Valley Bar, has announced plans to add an art-and-cultural center and a 1,800-capacity music venue to downtown Phoenix.

ABC15 spoke to Levy via phone on Friday and here is what we learned about both projects:

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ARTS AND CULTURAL CENTER

Less than a mile west of Crescent Ballroom sits a now-vacant church with its steeple still high in the air. Levy said he purchased the building last month and plans to turn it into a non-profit arts and cultural center.

It is being designed to showcase all types of art, including acoustic concerts, theater and film, said Levy.

"I think it is going to be a really nice project," he said. "A really cool place to see the arts," he added.

The church itself is 8,000 square feet, but the sanctuary -- which will be the focal point of the space -- is 3,000 square feet, said Levy. 

For the most part, the design and history of the building will be untouched. Carpet will be pulled up, but other than that "we're going to not do much to the space," he said.

The project is still in its early stage, but Levy said he hopes to have it open by Spring 2017.

Artist rendering of planned music venue

MUSIC VENUE

Levy also revealed plans to bring another music venue to the Valley, the largest of his other two properties.

Near Fourth Avenue and Van Buren sits a 21,000-square-foot building that was housed by the Phoenix Motor Co. in the 1930s. 

In its day it was a showroom for cars, now it will be a "showroom for music," said Levy. 

He plans to turn this building into an approximately 1,800-seat music venue. While music will be the focus, it could also house comedians and private events, said Levy.

For comparison, Crescent Ballroom can hold 500 people, and the music portion of Valley Bar can house 200 people.

Levy said the interior features old wood buttresses and construction crews will work to peel back the exterior to reveal the old windows, doors and brick that were covered up over time.

He is leasing the building from Jim Kuykendall and Pat Contelme who currently own it.

The venue does not have a name at the moment, but he is encouraging those with ideas to post them on the Stateside Presents Facebook page. He hopes to have it open by Spring 2017.

Arizona State University Digital Repository/Creative Commons

"THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM FOR THE ARTS"

It is difficult to take a stroll downtown and miss something that reflects Phoenix's art scene.

There is Roosevelt Row, which has galleries, shops and spaces for local artists, not to mention the murals of street art along the buildings, walls and back alleys.

The Herberger Theater Center showcases shows produced by the Arizona Theatre Company and Valley Youth Theatre. There is also the Phoenix Art Museum, the Orpheum Theatre, the Phoenix Symphony, Talking Stick Resort Arena and Comerica Theatre. 

Even in the middle of Civic Space Park, directly across from ASU's Downtown Campus, is a 145-foot-tall suspended sculpture called Her Secret is Patience.

Does Phoenix need another art venue?

To Levy, the answer is easy - yes.

"There is always room for the arts," he said.

Levy has been a large supporter of Phoenix's art scene since he moved up from Tucson years ago. 

"If anything, to make a great downtown, you need a lot of places to put on the art," he said.