A planned venue in Old Town would have room for 1,000 people, a number that could bring in more national acts.
The yet-to-be-named venue will be on Union Street between Seventh and Eighth streets and is a partnership between the owners of the Blue Tractor Cook Shop and Porterhouse Productions.
The 18,000-square-foot building will be three stories high including a rooftop bar and will extend east to the property line, up to the Old Town Parking Garage, said Jon Carlson, owner of Blue Tractor.
"Our goal is to have it fit in the neighborhood," Carlson said, "the same scale and mass."
Groundbreaking isn't expected to start until the fall of 2012 and the new venue could open in 2013, organizers said. It will replace the current Shed and Good Works Cooperative (formerly the Cafe Habaña and Preggers/Nesbitt Hardware, respectively) but Blue Tractor will stay the same, Carlson said.
The new venue will be adaptable, said Sam Porter, of Porterhouse Productions, and could feature a 1,000-person, standing-room-audience concert one night, a culinary event for 500 the next night and, on another night, a Red Wings playoff game on a giant screen that could lift up post-game to reveal a rock band.
The Blue Tractor's liquor license extends to the new space, which will have full-service bars that focus on local and Michigan-made beverages, Carlson said.
Central Grade School's Lars Hockstad Auditorium, at Seventh and Pine streets, about a block from the planned venue, will have about 800 new seats installed this summer. The City Opera House in downtown Traverse City can seat 650 in its theater setting. Kresge Auditorium, a covered venue at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, seats close to 4,000.
Pat Cole, owner of Brady's Bar, 401 S. Union St., hadn't heard about the new venue, but thinks it will be a good addition to the neighborhood.
"Anything that promotes people coming to Old Town is a good thing," he said. "Being that they're competing with food and drink, that's fine. We had a good relationship with Dill's for 60 years." Blue Tractor is on the site of the former Dill's Olde Towne Saloon.