PHOENIX — Last August, Desoto Central Market abruptly closed.
In February, we learned that the building had been purchased by Chuckie Duff, the developer behind Cobra Arcade, Gracie's Tax Bar, and Rebel Lounge, and that he planned to open a nightlife concept in the space, which is located near Roosevelt Street and Central Avenue.
Now, we're learning more about what those plans are and when the new concept is expected to open.
Duff has teamed up with Thomas Turner, the owner of Relentless Beats, the company that produces a number of festivals around town, and Damon Scott, one of the owners of Rattle and Rum, a company that helps create cocktail programs for big and small festivals and events locally and nationally, to open Track Club, a dance nightclub, cocktail lounge, and restaurant, according to a news release.
“We’re very excited to finally come together with Chuckie [Duff] and Damon [Scott] on a project where we can create elevated experiences for our fans," said Turner in a statement. “We’ve been searching for the perfect room for this concept, and with the DeSoto [building] we found the perfect vessel to create a home for our fans, Arizona club-goers, and Downtown Phoenix locals alike."
The project will be built in two phases, both of which are expected to open by the end of the year, said Chad Shearer of Caren West PR.
The first phase, which includes the 12,000-square-foot nightclub and a separate cocktail lounge, is expected to be completed in the fall. The restaurant and patio will be part of the second phase, and are expected to open before the end of the year, the release said.
ABC15 requested interviews on Tuesday, but did not hear back before deadline. An email to Duff was automatically returned with a message that he was out of town.
On Wednesday afternoon, after this story published, ABC15 spoke with Damon Scott, a partner on the project, over the phone about what people can expect when the venue opens -- at least as much as can be discussed. There are still details and designs that are being worked on, he said.
To start, the name -- Track Club -- was picked for a few different reasons. The obvious, it is very close to a light rail station, which sits on tracks. It is a music venue and dance club and there will certainly be a lot of music and songs played, sometimes called "tracks." The third reason is more of a possible idea rather than a confirmed plan, but there was talk that the staff could wear tracksuits as a uniform, he said.
That may or may not actually happen.
Scott said the project was "moving at light speed" and was one of the fastest-moving projects he had ever been part of. "Chuckie (Duff) is on a mission," he added.
He recalls one of the first conversations he had with Duff about the idea of Track Club.
"We're going to do it because it needs to be done," he said Duff said. "He could not be more right," Scott said. For them, It is something that the downtown Phoenix environment is missing.
The nightclub will feature "high-caliber DJs and performances" three to four times a week and from different genres, including hip-hop, EDM, Latin, pop and rock, the news release. It will be located upstairs on the mezzanine for those familiar with the old Desoto's layout. People will have to purchase tickets to go to those events.
Below the mezzanine will be the lounge.
The lounge will be open throughout the week for anyone who wants to stop in and have a cocktail and listen to local musicians, or listen to a DJ spin tunes from the booth, said Scott.
He said the bar has been completely revamped. It will have 20 active wells and premium equipment, details that may not be noticed by the customers, but will allow bartenders to make and serve drinks faster and to more people, he said.
There will be cocktails, some with a premium craft element, and others that will be good, but will please everyone's tastes. However, the lounge is not designed to be a "craft cocktail bar." There are quite a few already in the area -- Bitter and Twisted, Little Rituals, Sazerac.
Instead, he describes it this way: "A cocktail experience that you're not expecting at a venue like this." He mentions a margarita with fresh lime juice and agave nectar as a possible option, blending both a higher-quality cocktail experience while also being comfortable enough that someone could easily come back for a second. Or a third.
In terms of the restaurant, he said it would be fast-casual with a walk-up window. He said they were in talks with someone "well known in the downtown scene," to be part of it, but because the agreement had yet to be signed, he wasn't able to name them.
Editor's note: This story has been updated for clarity and to update Damon Scott's title. He is the co-founder of Rattle and Rum.