Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Deep Ellum’s historic Bomb Factory reopens as live music venue in 2014
The 40,000-square-foot space served as a musical hot spot in the '90s.
DEEP ELLUM Deep Ellum’s Bomb Factory long ago played host to bands ranging from Phish to Fugazi, Nine Inch Nails to Elastica, the Ramones to the Cocteau Twins, INXS to Sonic Youth. It was, in the mid-’90s, among Dallas’ best venues — maybe not its best-sounding, maybe not its best-looking (especially during the day) but as essential to the local-rock landscape as the original Trees, Tommy’s, Club Clearview, the Orbit Room, the Galaxy Club and the Bronco Bowl.
And come the spring of 2014, it’s due to reopen its doors. Clint Barlow, who four years ago replanted Trees, has decided running one live-music venue in Deep Ellum just ain’t enough.
“I remember coming to the clubs down here,” says Barlow. “It was a shame to see everything go away, and I think this is where music belongs in Dallas. To see it go elsewhere is a bummer. And maybe I should have my head examined. I already live at Trees now.”
Barlow has been looking to reopen the Bomb Factory for months, and has been working with the city on traffic studies, parking issues and bringing the massive venue on Canton Street back up to code. He didn’t want to talk about the resurrection of the Bomb Factory until it was clearly a go. Barlow called today with the news: He filed for a specific use permit today, and expects to begin construction “ASAP.”
Says Barlow, it won’t be an easy redo: Crews are going to have to remove the roof to deal with some sight-line issues. Which is just as well: “It’s going to have a mezzanine,” says Barlow. “And there will be a few suites.” He won’t say he how much he’s spending, but folks familiar with the redo say it’s nothing short of “several hundred thousand dollars.”
Barlow says it’ll primarily be a concert venue, because, well, “that’s my background,” he says. And that’s what it used to be. “But we’re shooting to bring all types of events to the neighborhood,” he says, “things like Comic-Con. It’ll have the space for it” — around 40,000 square feet, to be specific, with room enough to hold around 2,700 patrons.
The opening date isn’t firm, in large part because “there are a lot of moving parts,” says Permitted Development’s Audra Buckley, who’s shepherding Barlow through the process at Dallas City Hall. “It’s the zoning, the special exception on parking and parking agreements.” Construction can’t begin till those things are dealt with and the SUP is approved by the City Plan Commission and the Dallas City Council. Says Buckley, “We’ve got a long way to go.”
But Buckley and Barlow believe a March or April opening date isn’t out of the question. And, yes, it will still be called the Bomb Factory — because, after all, that’s what it was during World War II, after it served its purpose as Henry Ford’s Southwestern Ford Assembly Plant beginning in 1914. Barlow says he’s locked up the website, the Facebook page and the Instagram account.
“There’s nothing down here that size that’s that cool and that historic,” says Barlow of his new baby. “That was the first thing we did — check and see if the name was was available. Westdale [the property's owner] has a couple of the original bomb shells left in there, and they’re gonna let us hang ‘em in there.”
Below, a look at the Bomb Factory the night Fugazi burned the joint to the ground in ’95.
FUGAZI -(Part 2) Bomb Factory - Dallas, TX. 1995
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