St. Paul's Old Swedish Bank Building is about to start rocking.
Twin Cities Catalyst Music, a St. Paul-based nonprofit, announced plans last week for an all-ages concert venue inside the historic property at 965 Payne Ave. The still-unnamed basement space will cater to young musicians, similar to the Garage in Burnsville, an all-ages venue/studio that Catalyst took over in 2015.
"Historically, [Burnsville] can be a difficult place to get to for some folks, particularly for the all-ages market," says Jack Kolb-Williams, executive director of Catalyst Music. "So it’s always been on our mind to have a more centrally located space."
The Garage's St. Paul offshoot will have a capacity of around 150-250, Kolb-Williams estimates, and should open no later than a year from now. The bookings will emphasize local upstarts, with some national touring acts sprinkled in. What sort of genres should concertgoers expect?
"Stuff that’s kinda been missing after the Triple Rock departed," Kolb-Williams explains. "More indie stuff, a lot more local stuff, a very DIY vibe."
Other than the Garage, the Twin Cities only have two major all-ages music venues: The Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis and Myth in Maplewood, neither of which specialize in rookie musicians cutting their teeth. That's a niche Kolb-Williams says he hopes to fill in St. Paul's Payne-Phalen community.
"That whole neighborhood is really cool and fantastic," he says. "It’s exciting to be at the ground-level in that area."
Built in 1923, the Old Swedish Bank Building was recently acquired by Dimitri Hatzigeorgiou, a neighborhood investor who also owns nearby Caydence Records & Coffee. Tongue in Cheek, Cook St. Paul, Flat Earth Brewing Co., Brunson's Pub, and Caydence represent a new wave of restaurants, bars, and shops helping to revitalize Payne-Phalen.
"We just have a ton of support from the community," Kolb-Williams says. "Everyone is really thrilled this next step is coming."
The next immediate step? A fundraiser on Thursday at Bauhaus Brew Labs in Minneapolis. Cash raised will go toward mics, lights, P.A. equipment, and a stage, plus efforts to secure a Cultural STAR grant from the city of St. Paul.