Owner Evan Metz said he is working on raising capital and hiring a team.
Entrepreneur Evan Metz plans to open his Alberi outdoor entertainment venue in Springfield in the next 12 to 18 months.
Metz announced the project at 1819 N. Main St. in November as a “combination of a food hall, beer garden and live music venue.”
He has held three events on the 1.19-acre property.
Metz said Aug. 9 he has raised half of the nearly $2 million needed for the project through debt equity, private investors, donors and personal investment. He also is searching for a general manager to help run the venue.
“For me it’s making sure we have all the right pieces in place before just jumping in,” he said.
“I want to make sure I have the right team and the right sources of capital lined up and that will ensure the longevity of the project instead of trying to race, race, race to get things done as quickly as possible.”
New renderings for the venue show a stage, a permanent food vendor with an additional test kitchen, three bars, games, art installations, a shade structure with a VIP deck, a beach area, a dog park, a courtyard and a kids play area.
Metz said he will invest a significant amount in landscaping, which plays into the “nature wins” theme. The venue’s name, Alberi, means “trees” in Italian. An artificial stream will run through the venue.
One bar will be made from an old airplane, Metz said. He already has a boom truck and several shipping containers on the property that will be installed permanently during construction.
Metz said he is talking with Khloe’s Kitchen chef Wes Nogueira to create a food concept for Alberi. Another kitchen will be built-out for chefs to test new food concepts.
It would be open to restaurateurs and chefs from Jacksonville and outside the market, Metz said.
The site plan shows 30,000 square feet for parking at the back of the property.
Metz said he applied last month to rezone the property to allow for the “outdoor entertainment destination business.”
Jack Shad of Windmill Consulting is the applicant.
In the meantime, Metz said he will host a fourth event at Alberi on Nov. 6, immediately following the Jacksonville PorchFest.
While the events so far are geared toward a younger audience, Metz said the final product will be more family-oriented.
“We’re moving that way as we invest a lot more money into the space,” he said.
Metz is from Miami. He moved to Oregon for several years to work in the cannabis industry before returning to Florida in 2019 to look for a spot to open Alberi.
In 2019, he took a road trip around the Southeast to visit food halls, beer gardens and live music venues.
He settled on Jacksonville to launch the concept.
“There are a lot of millennials, a growing population, but there weren’t too many places that were really pushing the boundaries of food and beverage experiences,” he said in November.
“This is a pretty great opportunity.”
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