There’s good news in Music City, as longtime club and one of the key venues in Nashville’s “Rock Block,” the Exit / In, will remain a music club in its current location. That’s the word from the developers who had previously purchased the property where the venue currently sits.
We recently reported Halestorm’s support for the plight of the venue, with guitarist Joe Hottinger sharing some of his favorite memories of the place and urging support to try to save the club during the period of uncertainty.
A GoFundMe account had been launched to help the Exit / In as they planned to approach the owners of the property about selling the land to them. This came as the longtime music venue was celebrating its 50th anniversary year. At press time, the GoFundMe account had raised over $223,000, well past their $200,000 goal.
Adventurous Journeys founder Ben Weprin revealed in a statement on Friday (April 9) that it was never the developer’s desire to use the venue space for anything other than its current business, but that confidentiality issues had kept him from making a public statement prior.
The statement, issued to WSMV-TV, reads as follows:
Confidentiality was waived this afternoon, so we are now able to speak to the community about our plan for preserving Nashville’s beloved EXIT/IN, which was always our intent for the iconic music venue (the intent was never a hotel or any other use for the space). Our goal and company mission statement is to conserve and preserve while maintaining the health and vibrancy of the communities we invest in. The EXIT/IN is no exception. In fact, the artist community was first to put the need for iconic venue preservation and assistance on our radar. Those conversations are also driving our first action as owners: to add the EXIT/IN to the National Register of Historic Places, so that nobody can ever alter or change the space, as it belongs to Music City. We realize that the delay in our ability to respond has led to dollars spent by hardworking folks, and that’s why we’d like to refund all donations made on behalf of the EXIT/IN, so donors can redirect that money toward other worthy causes. Donors are invited to send a copy of their original donation receipt to the Preserve EXIT/IN GoFundMe to EXITINPreserved@ajcpt.com. As incoming stewards, we thank you for your passion and commitment to this great city. We look forward to seeing the return of live music to its stage.
Meanwhile, Exit / In owners Chris and Telisha Cobb, issued a statement of their own. It read:
We’re thrilled Ben agrees Exit/In must be preserved. We’ve reached out previously to no avail, but hope he’s now ready to accept our offer to purchase the building and make a profit from selling it to us. A legendary place like this – and what makes it beloved by passionate people on both sides of the stage — is our people. Exit/In has been our family’s home for 17 years and we can tell you the magic of the Exit/In cannot be bought or sold in a real estate transaction. It’s created by the people. Learning to own and operate a small independent venue is a monumental undertaking, especially for a company best known for building luxury developments. We invite Ben to accept our offer so Exit/In can continue to nurture Nashville creative working class and not become another playground for the elite. The offer to reimburse donors to our campaign is interesting, but we know Nashville’s music community can’t be bought. We’re also glad Ben wants to see live music on Exit/In’s stage. We’re not aware that he has seen a show here, but welcome him in to experience the magic of the place… We’re more committed than ever to protecting Nashville’s creative working class – it’s who we are!
Chris Cobb reiterated via the GoFundMe page to those who have contributed, “We cannot say THANK YOU enough for the tremendous outcry of support! Every dollar raised will go towards our bid to purchase the property – the higher the bid, the better our chances. We will proceed with a formalized offer shortly and keep you all updated as the situation with the property progresses. Long live the Rock Block!”