City Council Approvals This Evening; Josh Soley Bar & Waterfront Concerts 2016

Josh Maranda, Manager, with Josh Soley, Owner of New Alchemy.

Josh Maranda, Manager, with Josh Soley, Owner of  “Alchemy”.  (See Below Paragraphs and Photo.)

One Exchange Street to be the Site of a New Bar - Alchemy. in the Spring of 2016.

The Basement of One Exchange Street to be the Site of a New Bar – Alchemy –  in the Spring of 2016.

Alex Gray, of Waterfront Concerts, Tonight.

Alex Gray, of Waterfront Concerts, Tonight.

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 2,422)

The City Council voted this evening to authorize Waterfront Concerts to produce another series of concerts for the spring/summer of 2016. Making this request this early gives the organizer sufficient time to schedule the concerts and make tickets available for purchase in a more timely fashion said Alex Gray, representing the company.

In the season that just ended season, there were twenty-seven concerts on the Maine State Pier.  It could be the same number next year or perhaps even a few more.   According to Gray, it’s believed that the area realized an extra income of $20 million from the concerts’ presence; for hotel rooms and the like.   Andy Downs, speaking for the City of Portland said that there were three other events on the Pier and this contract is not meant to exclude others from using the Pier.  The City and Waterfront Concerts continue to monitor the sound from the concerts and look for ways to lower the sound levels. Weather can play a role in the sound disbursement. An additional plan to reduce the sound level is expected to be forthcoming.

The Council also approved an application for a Class A Lounge License with Entertainment (unamplified) for One Exchange Street.  The application came from Josh Soley, the grandson of Old Port controversial  landlord Joe Soley, 84. The younger Soley, who is a “some-time” college student at Syracuse University, and works in the real estate business,  said the basement space for the new bar is 3,300 sq. ft. in size.  An entrance is on Market Street and a more difficult one to access below the Psychic Office.  The space was last occupied by a bar, maybe eight years ago, and there is much work to be done to ready the space.  According to a source close to the situation, there was also a fire in the space and there is also water damage from putting out the fire. Josh Soley hopes “Alchemy” will open in the spring of 2016.

Soley, 21, sought to establish a similar establishment at 10 Exchange Street earlier this year.  The property was the former Movies at Exchange Street.  However, it was learned late in the license approval process that Soley was 20 years old – too young to be awarded a Class A Lounge license.  He has since turned 21.  Business neighbors near 10 Exchange Street expressed some concern about having such an establishment close to their businesses.  Soley maintained it would be for adults only.

One business neighbor said:  “He has a lot of competition in the area.  We’ll see how he does.”