The imminent demise of Southland Ballroom, it seems, has been exaggerated.
In February, news broke that a somewhat mysterious venture between Raleigh development kingpins John Kane and Cross Williams had purchased pricey parcels on downtown Raleigh’s North West street. That property has widely been considered to be the home of a future Publix, which would be downtown Raleigh’s first full grocery. That seemed to signal the end of Southland Ballroom, which opened in 2010. New Raleigh even took the liberty of posting “R.I.P. Southland Ballroom.”
But not so fast, says new owner Jim Shires.
“There’s no real timetable for the site,” says Shires, “and we plan on being here for the foreseeable future. It could be a couple of years, even.”
In April, Shires—the venue’s longtime manager and a staple in Raleigh clubs since 1988—signed a new lease with the WM Smokey Hollow, the new LLC of Williams and Kane. He also recently took ownership of the business itself. Though Shires declined to give the terms of the lease, he expects Southland to maintain control of the property for at least a year.
Shires does not know what the long-term plan for the property is, and representatives for Smokey Hollow did not respond to a request for comment. Shires assumes, however, they did not buy the land in order to own a music venue. He’s excited that he still has some time on his corner.
“One day, we know that we will have to move—that is the reality of running a business on this end of the block,” he says. “But it won’t be tomorrow or next month or two months ago, like some people suggested.”