Port Washington Common Council approves Blues Factory development


Plans for the Blues Factory, a Paramount Records-themed cultural and entertainment complex on a waterfront site in Port Washington, continues to move forward with the Common Council’s unanimous approval this week of the project’s concept plan.

The council also approved selling the parking lot where the Blues Factory, which will include and educational and cultural preservation center, a performance venue, banquet hall and restaurant, would be built, on a 15,000-square-foot parcel east of Harbor View Lane.

The Council will now begin negotiations with The Blues Factory developers to discuss sales price of the land and financial assistance.

“We’ll bring a package back to the council and then it is their hands,” said Randy Tetzlaff, director of planning and development. “We’ve made it clear that we still have a long ways to go.”

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The 46-stall parking lot was previously the site of the Wisconsin Chair Co. and is subsidiary, Paramount Records. Wisconsin Chair operated Paramount Records until 1933.

It closed its Port Washington factory in 1954. The building was razed in 1968 and some Port Washington residents would prefer the land remain vacant, Tetzlaff said.

If built, a nonprofit organization will be established to operate the education/museum space.  The restaurant will be operated by a partner, said Blues Factory president and CEO Christopher Long.  

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Construction could begin in spring 2016 and could be complete in spring 2017.

Long is also planning a summer roots music festival along the waterfront in 2017 to celebrate the centennial founding of Paramount Records.

“We’re really delighted by the unanimous vote of our concept plan, it shows strong support from the city and puts us in a position to move ahead with important discussions with investors and partners,” Long said.

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