The owner of a popular, well-known music venue in South Burlington says news of the club moving is premature.
It’s a known fact that the owners of Higher Ground on Williston Road have been considering either expanding at the current location or relocating to a larger space, but co-owner and founder Alex Crothers said a television news report last week was incomplete.
“It’s no secret that we’ve been sniffing around the area for a few years for other viable locations, however, at this time, there’s still nothing worthwhile to discuss,” Crothers said in an email this week. “We’re engaged in several meaningful discussions, including several with South Burlington, about potential opportunities.”
A local television news outlet reported last week that Higher Ground was in talks with Burton to possibly move to the snowboard company’s campus in Burlington’s South End. But Crothers insists that there are no concrete plans to move just yet.
South Burlington City Manager Kevin Dorn said in an interview last week that the city has had ongoing discussions with Crothers and his business partner Alan Newman regarding expansion versus relocation.
“In an ideal world, I think they would like an old, bigger industrial space they could renovate,” Dorn said. “There’s some physical limitation to the current property. It sits far back from the road, although that doesn’t mean they couldn’t expand it.”
Higher Ground moved to the former movie theater space at 1214 Williston Road in 2004 after losing its location in Winooski due to the city’s redevelopment project.
The business partners have considered the Moran Plant on Burlington’s waterfront, and other locations in Winooski as possible locations for High Ground, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in April 2018. The club has hosted countless bands and performances in that time, showcasing now-famous bands and performers in their early days, like Phish, Darlingside, Norah Jones, David Gray, and many others.
Dorn added that Crothers and Newman have also offered advice and guidance to the city over the years regarding a proposed creative performing arts center in South Burlington, concerts at Veteran’s Memorial Park, and other events.
“They’ve always been interested in what we’re thinking about,” Dorn said. “They’ve been good members of the business community for a long, long time, and they’re just good people. They are both great entrepreneurs, but they both have indicated that there is long way to go on future plans. It’s not near being a done deal.”