by Robert Bell
After a couple months of delay, Porter's Jazz Cafe is set to open Aug. 3, with a sponsors-only concert by jazz pianist Alex Bugnon. The restaurant and venue - located in the bottom level of the Gus Blass building at 315 Main St. - was originally supposed to open in May.
While the fire marshal has yet to weigh in with an official capacity, the 9,500-square foot space will likely seat about 200 people, said owner Marcell Dean.
"We’ll have a menu featuring upscale American cuisine with a southern flair," Dean said.
The rest of the five-story building is still being renovated for conversion into loft apartments, said developer Scott Reed.
Reed said construction is on course for the Aug. 3 opening, with the front glass set to arrive next week.
"We’ll finish the restaurant and then the front of building, then we’ll evacuate the front of the building and just work out of the back of the alley," Reed said. "That’s where all our construction doors and construction access will be, in the back."
Regarding the possibility of noisy construction on upper floors disrupting the club, "we took special effort to make sure the soundproofing was significant," Reed said. "On the club side, you’ve got soundboard, then two layers of 5/8-inch drywall, then nine inches of insulation, then on top of that you’ve got two inches of wood and an inch-and-a-half of concrete."
Reed said construction on the building should be complete by about April. The apartments will average about 750 square feet and will lease for $1 a square foot. There are about 40 people on the loft waiting list and 32 units in the building total, he said.