Dad’s Garage Theatre Company made its first formal pitch to CPNO’s Zoning Committee last night as the company weighs relocating to 351 Moreland Ave. Two restaurants currently occupy the site: Front Page News and Tijuana Garage. The theatre would occupy part of the existing building and construct new facilities in the lot's rear. Dad’s Garage was the only item on the committee’s agenda.
As reported in this month’s Messenger, the comedy improv outfit was displaced from its longtime Inman Park location on Elizabeth Street. The company rented space in its former location and when the property was sold and redeveloped, Dad’s Garage found itself homeless and sharing space with other area venues including 7 Stages in Little 5 Points.
Dad’s Garage board member Amanda Rhein told committee members and visitors from the Inman Park Neighborhood Association and the Little Five Points Business Association that her group had been looking for a new “forever home” for the past two years. The Candler Park location is one of 20 Dad’s Garage evaluated and it remains among the top preferred relocation sites.
Issues discussed inlcude proposed legislation to increase the cap on commercial recreation space -- the classification for theaters -- from 8,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet. Dad's Garage would require from 15,000 to 20,000 square feet for its performance spaces, offices, and other functions.
Parking was another issue discussed. Relocating Dad's Garage to Moreland Ave. would require new construction that would eliminate existing parking for the two restaurants. Concerns about impacts to parking for existing establishments like the Wrecking Bar and Brewhouse also were raised.
351 Moreland Ave. Photo by David Rotenstein.
The Moreland Ave. property is in a commercial zone that abuts Candler Park residences on Josephine Street. CPNO Zoning Committee members noted that Josephine Street residents would be the most likely neighbors impacted by new construction and uses at the site. Rhein and CPNO representitives will be discussing ways to get the residents of Josephine involved in the discussions once more details are known about the project.
The question of where Dad's Garage ultimately moves rests on a number of complex legislative and regulatory issues as well as funding for new construction. Changes to existing zoning laws could have longterm impacts to Candler Park and Little Five Points. These potential impacts include decisions by other property owners who might want to replicate the 351 Moreland project on their sites and the future businesses that could occupy 351 Moreland if Dad's Garage were to stop doing business in that location.
Look for an update in the February Messenger.