Those more accustomed to late nights at the now-shuttered Jinx had no problem showing up Thursday afternoon to support the owner's attempt to reopen the beloved bar and music venue in a new location. And the city responded in kind.
The many former patrons and employees, who took up one half of the council chambers at Savannah City Hall, did not have to say much before the Savannah City Council approved a special-use permit for the proposed bar, restaurant and music venue at 2602 Whitaker St. in an 8-1 vote.
Alicia Miller Blakely, who cast the sole opposing vote, said she was not against the venue, but that she would not be supporting a lounge or bar until the owners of the CRU Lounge were granted an alcohol license after their application was denied in January.
"I support you all, I just can't vote for you based on what I believe," she said.
Blakely's vote also came after she raised some concerns about parking and the impact to surrounding businesses such as Tricks Barbecue. Attorney Josh Yellin, who was representing the Jinx, said that they worked with city staff and, while only two parking spaces are required, they would be providing eight spaces on the property. In addition , Yellin said the owner made a commitment to the Thomas Square Neighborhood Association that if parking became an issue she would reach out to property owners with parking about working out ways to mitigate any overflow.
Hosting a variety of genre-spanning musical acts, the original Jinx entertained music fans for 17 years before closing its doors at 127 West Congress St. in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The council's vote to support the new location came after similar support was shown when the Metropolitan Planning Commission voted last month to recommend approval of the permit. More than 200 letters of support were submitted by area business owners and residents expressing their desire to see the reopening of the venue they described as “iconic”, “legendary” and a “staple of the community.”
A supporter who spoke during Thursday's meeting described the Jinx as a historical establishment, similar to places such as the Ryman Auditorium in his hometown of Nashville, Tenn.
"These are important establishments all over the country," he said. "They bring in people, visitors from all over the world."
The venue will close at midnight on the weekdays and 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, with music stopping one hour before closing time, as approved. The building, which is currently vacant, will need some work before the venue is open and hosting acts, however. Proposed improvements and alterations, as approved by the Historic Preservation Commission, include a roof redesign to allow for more ceiling height in the main event space.
In other news …
Belk selling outparcels at Oglethorpe Mall
Belk is in the process of selling some of its parking lot property surrounding the department store at Oglethorpe Mall.
Belk spokesperson Jessica Rohlik said via email Thursday that Belk is not selling the store and "looks forward to continuing to welcome customers at that location."
"We are under contract to sell an outparcel of our property there, but nothing is changing with the store itself," Rohlik said. "We believe in taking care of our customers and the communities they live in, and are thrilled to continue serving the Savannah community."
Rohlik did not respond to a request for further information about the properties being sold. Rise Partners, which is marketing the property, also did not respond to requests for comment.
On Thursday, the Savannah City Council authorized the city manager to accept an Easement Donation from Belk, due to the pending sale. The donated utility easement is to accommodate for the city's existing sewer lines, force main, and lift station on the property before closing on the transaction.
An application to subdivide Savannah Belk outparcels was submitted in January. The submitted subdivision plat from January, prepared for Rise Partners, shows two proposed outlets for retail stores.
On Monday, plans were submitted to construct an animal hospital and Popeyes restaurant on the lots on each side of the access road off Mall Boulevard.
Savannah movie theater closed, available for new use
The AMC movie theater on Stephenson Avenue is closed and the property is being marketed for commercial use.
The property is being listed by Dimension Development Partners LLC.
The firm "specializes in solving the challenges of clients needing a single-tenant or multi-tenant retail setting, without the burden of property ownership," according to the website.
The property has been owned by Carmike Cinemas Inc. since 1992, according to the property record.