The addition of a new Downtown nightlife destination cleared a hurdle Thursday when a waiver was granted for a liquor license for "The Volstead."
The city Downtown Development Review Board unanimously approved a waiver of minimum requirements for liquor license location to allow the use, which is 750 feet from First Baptist Church.
City regulations require a waiver to be granted if the proposed use is within 1,500 feet of a church. First Baptist Church, at 124 W. Ashley St., is four blocks from The Volstead. Also within the 1,500-foot limit are First Presbyterian Church at 118 E. Monroe St. and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church at 121 E. Duval St.
Club co-owner Samuel Linn said the concept is to create a "pre-prohibition ambience."
Asked what that means, Linn said the bar business changed after the federal Prohibition Act of 1919 went into effect.
The legislation came to be known for its sponsor, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Andrew Volstead.
"Before prohibition was the golden age of cocktails and the beginning of the jazz era," Linn said.
He said the décor and atmosphere of the club is designed to appeal to young professionals who work in the nearby office towers.
"We want people who work Downtown to have a place they'll want to stay after happy hour," said Linn.
The Volstead is scheduled to open by Nov. 1, he said.
The board also approved the final design for Beaver Street Villas, a project of the Clara White Mission.
The agency plans to convert an empty three-story building at the northwest corner of Beaver and Broad streets into a mixed-use retail and residential development.
The design comprises 4,600 square feet of office space on the first floor and 16 apartment units on the second and third floors.
The city has designated the building as historically significant and a landmark structure. As such, all building improvements are subject to the approval of the city Historic Preservation Commission.
The commission approved the design Sept. 25, which limits the review board's jurisdiction, said city Assistant General Counsel Jason Teal.
"The Historic Preservation Commission's determinations trump DDRB," he said.
The ground floor is intended to be occupied by agencies that provide services to veterans and the second and third floors will be converted into 16 apartments, said Reynolds, Smith and Hills architect Michael Montoya.
The apartments will be transitional housing for clients enrolled in the mission's culinary and janitorial career training programs, he said.
Clara White Mission CEO and President Ju'Coby Pittman said that since 2003, more than 700 people have graduated from the career programs. Being able to offer transitional housing is the next step in the development and expansion of the programs.
"This project has been a long time coming," she said.