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The National Considers Takeover of Toad's Place

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The beleaguered music and restaurant venue where Toad's Place used to be has drawn interest from parties up and down the East Coast. But its former competitor, the National, may be positioning itself to take on the venue.

“We are currently looking into occupying Toad's as it represents a very interesting opportunity for The National to potentially grow smaller bands into The National's larger room,” spokeswoman Suzanne Paige tells Style in an e-mail.

Although both venues have a 1,500-audience capacity, the National management would use the space at Toad's for smaller shows, filling the niche between cozy venues such as Alley Katz and the National itself. Bands on the rise would play at Toad's, while larger draws would play at the National.

Meanwhile, the venue formerly known as Toad's shows signs of life as host to a handful of private events that contracted with the club before its closure March 10.

Noble, a professional networking group, plans to hold an event there April 10 — the first since the venue shut down after building owner Margaret Freund evicted Toad's Place business owners Meredith and Charles Joyner for falling behind on their rent.

Kristen Heckman, project manager for Freund's company, Fulton Hill Properties, says they're coordinating two weddings there in April.

Freund opened the music venue in June 2007 after renovating the historic Lady Byrd Hat Building, promising to bring life to the Canal Walk. Since closing, major acts that had been booked to play at Toad's — including Lady Gaga, Neko Case and Dinosaur Jr. — have migrated to the National.

Heckman says there's lots of interest in the vacant Toad's. The rental agreement offers the 22,109-square-foot venue at $20 per square foot annually, a rental cost of almost $37,000 a month, plus taxes and utilities.
 
“Nothing's inked yet,” she says, “but people are calling every day. We're hoping the best man can take it on.”

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