Nashville’s Exit/In Owner Launches Fundraising Campaign To Buy The Building From Developer

A building with a sign on the front

The building that houses Nashville’s historic Exit/In has been sold. But the owner of the club is now trying to buy it from the new owner himself.

Back when the owners of the property put the building up for sale, Exit/In owner Chris Cobb attempted to buy the property and preserve the iconic Nashville music venue. They even partnered with a real estate investment firm, Grubb Properties, to make a bid on the building.

And according to Cobb, even though they offered the previous owners what they were asking for the property, the previous owners instead chose to accept another offer from a Chicago-based developer, AJ Capital Properties.

Cobb says that the reason the previous owners wouldn’t sell him the building is because of a grudge they held against the venue.

“We’re told the money was the same, and their decision was based on a grudge held over the Save The Rock Block campaign, which successfully prevented a budget hotel development.

We’ve asked the firm that won the bid to sell us the property, so we can preserve Exit/In and ensure its able to continue serving Nashville’s creative working class.” 

Cobb is now making a push to buy the property, which is now under contract to be sold, from AJ Capital Properties. The developer, according to The Tennessean, specializes in “adaptive reuse” projects that remake dilapidated historic properties into modern developments while retaining the original character.

That doesn’t sound promising…

Cobb has started a GoFundMe account to try to increase the amount he’s able to offer the owners, with a backup plan of donating the funds to the National Independent Venue Association and Music Venue Alliance Nashville.

The Exit/In first opened in 1971 and has hosted everybody from Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash to Billy Joel, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Post Malone. Since the 1980s, Exit/In has served as the hub of Music City’s rock music scene.

Back when word started going around that the Exit/In property was up for sale, Kip Moore posted a statement on Instagram about how big of a loss to Nashville it would be if Exit/In were forced to close.

“This one hurt. Legendary spot about to be a damn smoothie king before we blink.

I’ve never claimed to have the answers. Honestly, I get really pissed when people are self righteous in their convictions of how it should be (whether locked down or back open). Whichever way you feel, there’s an adverse effect and we are ALL navigating this for the first time.

What I do know is we can’t stay this way much longer or it’ll all be gone and I’m not just talking music venues. We threw a rock in the pond a year ago….that ripple hasn’t really even hit us yet but it’s gonna be a tidal wave when it does. Hearts out to everyone losing their businesses, livelihood, etc…this one hurt to see.”

Amen, Kip.

Cobb’s GoFundMe campaign has a goal of $200,000, and as of the time I’m writing this has already raised over $26,000, including a donation from Margo Price.

And as someone who’s already sick of seeing skyscrapers and boutique hotels go up where historic buildings used to stand in Nashville, all I can say is I really hope that Cobb is successful in buying back and saving this iconic venue.

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