When Phoenix Underground was hopping.

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!!!’

Businessman Tim Huck.

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 floor returns after decades of carpet and dirt.

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.

Back in the day at Phoenix.

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.