The owner of downtown club Gasoline Alley plans to renovate it and add a grill with a walk-up window that will be open lunch through late night.
The remodel, planned to be finished by next summer, would move the stage away from the front of the club and put a casual restaurant with a walk-up window at the front of the building at 28 N. Tejon St., said City Planner Ryan Tefertiller.
Owner Sam Guadagnoli proposed the same casual dining concept in May, but for an expanded Gasoline Alley that would have occupied the building next door at 26 N. Tejon St. Guadagnoli had 26 N. Tejon under contract pending approval of his concept from the Downtown Review Board.
Guadagnoli abandoned the idea and walked away from the sale after several neighbors wrote to the Colorado Springs Planning Commission condemning the idea because they said it would expand the downtown bar scene, which they said was already more pervasive than they wanted.
While the expansion didn’t work out, Guadagnoli said he felt like adding a grill was a good idea anyway.
Tefertiller said the bar’s new configuration will close up a big garage door that opens onto Tejon Street and replace it with a small seating area and walk-up counter for grill customers.
The restaurant, which will open during the day to offer another lunch option to nearby office workers and students, will stay open into the late hours of the night to serve bar patrons, Guadagnoli said.
Tefertiller said he made some notes on Guadagnoli’s application to modify his liquor license, the only approval needed before he can begin submitting plans to the building department.
“I determined it was a positive change and complies with downtown zoning,” Tefertiller said.
On Nov. 17, the Colorado Springs city clerk administratively approved the application to modify the liquor license for Gasoline Alley, said Lee McRae, a license enforcement officer for the clerk’s office.
“There wasn’t really a change,” McRae said. “He’s just rearranging things.”
The rearrangement is welcome news for neighbors, who say they fully support the change Guadagnoli is making.
“Are you kidding? We’ve been praying for something like this since they opened,” said Tim O’Donnell, who leads a group of downtown residents and neighbors. “This is much better. I think it’s a great accommodation.”
O’Donnell, who lives in the lofts a block north of Gasoline Alley, says the garage door and band stage on the sidewalk has meant noisy nights Thursday through Saturday.
“We’re downtown,” he said. “We obviously didn’t expect it to be quiet, but there was no getting around it. It was like the whole band was out on the sidewalk.”
In addition to alleviating some of the noise, O’Donnell said he’s excited about Guadagnoli’s change at Gasoline Alley because it will add a daytime use to a section of downtown that’s mostly closed during the day.
Guadagnoli says he expects he will wait until after the holidays to begin construction, but he would like to finish it by summer.