BY ARIELLE KASS
After learning its new neighbor would be The Masquerade , a developer who plans to build a pricey subdivision across the street has sued to stop the music venue from opening.
Landmark Partners II plans to build a 75-home subdivision with houses that cost more than half a million dollars across the street from The Masquerade’s new location. The venue, which was booted from its North Avenue home when plans were solidified to build a $60 million mixed-use development on surrounding property, plans to move about 5 miles away to Atlanta’s Westside area.
Four lots in the WestTown subdivision are already under contract, according to the suit, filed last week in Fulton County Superior Court. But a fifth potential resident canceled the contract when the buyer learned that The Masquerade was moving in, and two other potential buyers stopped negotiations.
“They were concerned about The Masquerade going in across the street from it,” said Brian Daughdrill, an attorney representing the developer. “It could completely change the nature of the construction over there.”
An attorney for The Masquerade said he would pass on a reporter’s contact information to a spokesperson, but no one replied to the request for comment.
The Masquerade was scheduled to move in to the new space shortly after its Wrecking Ball ATL festival earlier this month, but the venue has yet to receive permits from the city of Atlanta. Its building plan is still under review, but zoning, plumbing and mechanical permits were rejected. Only an electrical permit was approved. The venue can still fix the unresolved issues.
In a post on its Facebook page after the suit was filed, The Masquerade said all shows scheduled for the foreseeable future will be held at the North Avenue location “due to construction delays.”
Daughdrill said his goal is to keep The Masquerade from opening in the first place. The venue, which has three performance rooms titled Heaven, Hell and Purgatory, is known for punk, hard rock and metal music. It hosted some of the first concerts by Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Foo Fighters, The Dave Matthews Band and Fugazi.
Earlier this summer, Masquerade talent buyer Greg Green told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that parking at the new venue “won’t be the struggle that it is now.”
But the suit claims that the venue “is dramatically under-parked and patrons (will) flood the surrounding neighborhoods, subjecting them to late-night revelers, noise and light.” Its permitting requests mask the fact that it is a music venue by calling it an “eating and drinking establishment” or a “convention center,” the suit said.
It says “illicit and illegal conduct” occur at the North Avenue location, and will continue at the new location. That, Daughdrill said, will make it difficult to sell the homes in the WestTown subdivision.
“They’re going to have Hell, Heaven and Purgatory 140 feet from residential uses,” he said. “It’s going to overwhelm that neighborhood.”
Staff Writer Melissa Ruggieri contributed to this story.