Tuesday night, the longterm fate of venerable Carrboro institution Cat's Cradle came up in a Board of Aldermen meeting -- at which a developer seemed to raise the possibility of the club moving to Durham. The Cradle has been in its current digs since 1993, and it's hard to imagine Carrboro without it. So here's some followup on that. Before anybody gets too excited, it's worth mentioning that nothing has been determined; and that all parties seem to want to keep the Cradle in Carrboro.
Are the Cat's Cradle's days in Carrboro numbered?
By Mark Schultz and David Menconi
Chapel Hill News/News & Observer
A developer proposing the renovation of the nightclub's East Main Street shopping center urged the Carrboro Board of Aldermen to approve the project Tuesday night, saying any further delay could send Cradle owner Frank Heath packing.
"It's absolutely an integral part of our project," Laura Van Sant said in an interview Wednesday. "It is a fact he has landlords in Durham offering him free space."
But it's not clear that delaying the 300 East Main Street project would force the Cradle to leave Carrboro. In an e-mail statement, Heath said he gets regular inquiries about relocating the Cradle to a larger space in one of the Triangle's other cities.
"It can get a bit frustrating knowing that our current spot really is where this venue needs to stay, while also knowing that we could benefit from a larger space," Heath wrote.
When asked about Van Sant's claim he'd been offered rent-free space in Durham, Heath answered that it was more along the lines of booking shows elsewhere than a space of his own to operate as Cat's Cradle.
From a competitive standpoint, the Cradle could benefit from a capacity larger than its current cap of around 600. Many acts bypass the Triangle for larger clubs such as Asheville's 940-capacity Orange Peel.
The 300 East Main Street project would transform the Carrboro strip shopping center housing the Cradle, The ArtsCenter and other businesses into four five-story buildings, a parking deck and pedestrian plaza.
The developers, most of whom are local, say they want to keep the existing tenants -- and Heath wants to keep the Cradle in Carrboro. Losing the Cradle, Vant Sant said, would be a major setback for the project.
"It's certainly a big fear for us," she said, "and we think it would be a big fear for the town."