Crews at the soon-to-open Phoenix Downtown are working as hard as elves in Santa’s workshop to get the thousand details sorted out by tomorrow evening at 9 pm. December 23rd is the ‘soft’ opening of 400 Commerce Street, the rebirth of the former Phoenix Underground into Phoenix Downtown.
For the last few months, the buildout hasn’t been far from the mind of developer Tim Huck, the owner of Sandbar in downtown Shreveport and Bossier City’s iconic Notini’s Restaurant. Huck was determined to make the historic structure on Commerce Street something special. For several months, he and his team have worked to refresh and renew the building into a Top 40 dance club that will feature over 30,000 individual LED lights, including the area’s first LED Voxel installation. Huck believes the look and sound will rival the top clubs in Dallas and beyond.
Built in 1895, the 24,000 SF building still retains original woodwork, giant columns and other original equipment that give it its current industrial-modern feel. Bars are new, bathrooms look new, the stage is new, century-old wood flooring was uncovered and sanded, banquettes and a new VIP section was added, but the sound and lights will be the standouts.
According to Huck, the development team who worked on the club have more than 90 years of combined nightclub design and management experience. They include:
- Design Engineer JoJo Lacy (Phoenix Underground, Sandbar, Mojo’s) who leveraged the latest in construction technology like CNC routers, 3D printing, and CNC Laser cutting to breathe new life into the 1890’s building. From the spectacular hand made custom epoxy countertops and light fixtures to the new outdoor patio, JoJo’s years of experience and talented crew have created something very unique.
- Local Creative Technologist & designer John Lomax of PixelSlant Creative was enlisted to bring the high-tech vision of the club to life. The club features a bespoke LED installation with over 30,000 individual LEDs, including the area’s first 3D LED Voxel installation. When asked about the project John said, “As a designer, it’s rare to get the freedom and support from a venue to push the boundaries of what can be done, Phoenix will without a doubt set a new standard for Shreveport nightlife”.
The club will be open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights from 9:00 pm-6:00 am at 400 Commerce Street in downtown Shreveport.
Up Next: New Year’s Eve!
Story from Dec. 14, 2021
It’s official. The new techno-pop- dance club emerging from the rehab at 400 Commerce Street is going to be called ‘Phoenix 2.0.’ “There’s just no way I couldn’t use that name,” says owner Tim Huck. “Too many people know it. There are too many great memories.”
This week has been filled with last-minutes touches to the new light and sound system, replacing the exterior awning and working to source furniture for the sidewalk cafe. Huck reports that his Certificate of Occupancy is in hand and ABO licensing is complete and so, drum roll, please- the ‘official’ opening night is Thursday, Dec. 23.
That might JUST be enough time to work out the bugs prior to the really big show…the NYE blowout on Friday the 31st. Huck says this will be limited admission and the VIP Experiences are going fast. If you want to say you were there on the first New Year’s Eve of this Phoenix rising, get your tickets now.
Original Story- 400 Commerce Returns- As What? October 14, 2021
Last week, Tim Huck almost broke the Internet. The local business owner who owns a restaurant, residential real estate and a downtown nightspot, posted two words on the Facebook page of the now-defunct Phoenix Underground, a popular dance club that closed in 2016. Those two Internet-breaking words; ‘Guess What!!!’
It didn’t take long for the guesses to start flowing and at least one local media outlet to pick up on the speculation, too. The rumor mill was awash with conjecture that the underground party spot at 600 North Market was going to be reopening. That is not going to be happening.
What IS going to be happening is something that should be even cooler, something you might consider Phoenix Underground 2.0. The still-unnamed space could be called “Phoenix something,” Huck says. He is still working on it but says, “the name has to be perfect.” While he is considering the perfect name, he and his former Phoenix crew are working on what he hopes will be the perfect Top 40 dance club at 400 Commerce Street.
The 26,000 SF structure has seen some things come and go. Built in 1895 as the Hicks Company, Ltd., a wholesale grocer and cotton merchant, it later became the warehouse for the Hemenway Furniture Company, the headquarters for the DRS Beverage Company, The Planter’s Seed Company, and the short-lived Randol’s Restaurant. It then entered the era of clubs, as Bricktown and Kokopelli’s.
Huck, who owns a popular club called The Sandbar just across the alley from 400 Commerce, has long loved the building, the location and the idea of creating a walkable, clean, safe, fun, downtown entertainment ‘community.’ When he walked inside, he knew this was the place. “The architecture is just incredible,” he says smiling, pointing to the giant columns and soaring ceiling.
His plans for the building first have to do with significant clean up and clean out. He is playing a hands-on role in the re-imagined space, choosing the light gray color for some walls as a better backdrop for the lighting, deciding on the white ‘easy to clean’ banquettes for the VIP area, instructing the repainting of the south interior wall to make it look like bricks again (it had been painted an ugly beige), and stripping the horribly filthy carpet from the second floor to create a clean and open space that can be reserved for groups and parties.
Huck is proud of the transformation he is witnessing. The floor once covered by purple carpet that looked black because of the filth is now down to the wood. “This took 140 sanding and buffing pads to complete because of the amount of adhesive on the floor,” he says. “We bought out all the pads in the area. I hired a floor crew to do it and after a few days, they told me they had seriously underbid this project. It took three weeks of sanding and buffing to complete.”
The place is a beehive of activity. Metal workers and cleanup crews are working side by side to put in railings, bars, a stage, dance floor, general admission and VIP spaces. Bathrooms are being painted and cleaned, cobwebs are being swept out, even the alley, once filled with overflowing dumpsters, is getting attention.
One of the things Huck is most proud of is plans for the lights in the club, $100,000 worth of LEDs that will transform the space into something he and light/sound specialist Lomax the Grey have been working on each day.
“There are clubs in Dallas that have amazing lights,” Lomax says. ‘This club is going to be better.” “We’ll be able to do inside what the new lighted Texas Street Bridge will be doing outside,” says Huck, ‘We can change the whole color of the club just by hitting a button.’
When the still-to-be-named club opens – ‘before New Year’s Eve’ Huck says- it will sport amazing lights, a great sound system, Top 40 dancing, a stage for live performances, multiple bar areas, several locations for VIP groups and parties, outside seating and limited food service. They are working on the food service menu now.
Huck believes the new space will fill a niche that has been lacking since the closure of Phoenix Underground. Based on some of the comments to the ‘Guess What!!!’ post – ‘I’ll come back to Shreveport for that!’ ‘Goin to be epic!’ ‘Yessss, please.’ ‘Finally!’ and ‘Dreams do come true,’ he could be right.