How a savvy businesswoman helped bring Antone’s back downtown

miller antone'sFrom today’s Austin Business Journal:

Thanks to the business and real estate matchmaking skills of Meredith Sanger at the Downtown Austin Alliance, the Antone’s blues club is settling into its new home.

Antone’s co-owner Will Bridges said the Alliance “is really under-credited” for finding appropriate real estate for local businesses in the tight and pricey downtown market.

Bridges and his partners, including musician Gary Clark Jr. and Susan Antone, had been looking long and hard for the right place to re-establish Antone’s, which had its genesis in 1975 when Clifford Antone opened the blues club at Sixth and Brazos streets in a former furniture warehouse. Over the years, the club moved several times.

The club’s cachet survived — greats such as B.B. King and Muddy Waters performed there — even when Clifford Antone served two prison terms stemming from drug trafficking and money laundering charges. He died in 2006 at age 56.

In subsequent years, the club operated at Fifth and Lavaca streets but moved to East Riverside Drive in 2013.

“We knew we had to represent Antone’s in the right way,” Bridges said. “We talked to a lot of people and made a lot of runs at a lot of places. We were looking for a needle in a haystack.”

Enter Sanger, who enjoys a challenge. She lured nationally lauded Houndstooth Coffee to a spot in the Frost Bank Tower and persuaded Portland, Oregon-based Voodoo Doughnuts to open its first Texas store on East Sixth Street.

“Will gave me an idea of where they wanted to be and I could tell that the Maxey’s building didn’t look like what he wanted — at least at first,” Sanger said. “But once he got in there he realized it was a hidden gem in downtown.”

Bridges expected it to be “all offices, but then we saw the beams and columns, I just knew that was the spot. Something with soul, great bones. It just spoke to us.” Additional information>>>