Under a sign that said “for sale – Nashville’s soul,” community and council members vowed that they wouldn’t give up the iconic venue without a fight.
Nashville’s oldest rock club, the Exit/In, launched a GoFundMe campaign at the beginning of April when they learned the property was under contract to be sold to a developer, AJ Capital Partners.
At a rally Wednesday afternoon, Metro council members sent a clear signal that they do not plan to cooperate with the prospective new owners of the Exit/In property.
“If AJ Capital Partners thinks they’re going to walk over us and get a zone change that means the demolition of this property, they’re wrong,” said council member Jeff Syracuse.
AJ Capital could not be reached for comment. They have yet to release any public plans about what they want to do with the property.
But the Metro Council’s power can only do so much in the expected battle over the Exit/In. They can stand in the way of a full-blown redevelopment of the property, but they can’t force new owners to keep the venue open.
Still, supporters of the venue want city officials to do what it can.
“If decisions are continued to be made by corporations, out-of-towners and luxury developers, our city cannot make progress,” says Exit/In operator Chris Cobb. “Nashville will head nowhere, driven by decisions that maximize profits but minimize people. And this must stop.”
Ashley Torrance and her family came out to the rally to support the Cobb family. Her daughters wrote “we love Exit/In” and “save the city” in sidewalk chalk in front of the venue.
“Honestly I feel like it’s the soul of the city, and if we lose Exit/In — the landmark that it is, and what it’s done for us, and the staple of the rock block here — we’re going to lose, in my opinion, one of the last things left of real Nashville,” Torrance says.
Exit/In just celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. So far the Cobb family has crowdfunded more than $160,000 dollars in an effort to buy the property.