COLLiDE ATX aims to foster city's creativity, collaboration | Crain's Austin

COLLiDE ATX aims to foster city's creativity, collaboration

By day, COLLiDE ATX will serve as a free workspace and by night, it will be home to monthly menus and drink tastings, art exhibits and live music performances.

A new and highly versatile space is coming to East Austin.

During the day, the venue will provide a free workspace for Austin’s artists and creative types. By night, the space will be home to various chefs, artists, and musicians on a rotating basis.

COLLiDE ATX will launch in February at 1802 E. 6th St. It is a collaborative project between Los Angeles-based  COLLiDE – a creative agency and editorial platform – and Dunlap ATX, the parent company behind several local entertainment concepts including Lustre Pearl, Clive Bar and Trackside. Dunlap ATX will serve as the facility’s operator while COLLiDE will handle the creative programming.

Every other month, the space will host monthly menus and drink tastings, art shows, and live performances by bands hand-selected by COLLiDE. Tastemakers will hail from Mexico City, Montreal, Warsaw, Seoul and other international markets. There will be cooking demos so people can meet and learn from chefs. Music industry happy hours will be held. Art will be displayed and there will be intimate artist performances.

The facility will have two main rooms along with a full bar, kitchen and coffee service. 

The goal is to create an approachable venue that fosters creativity and collaboration in a playful environment, said COLLiDE founder Alan Miller.

“This neighborhood is where Austin’s creative communities converge – it’s where you find local musicians, artists, writers and filmmakers – making it the perfect location to foster this sort of environment,” Miller said.

It was also a way to bring COLLiDE’s travel magazines to life.

“Not everyone has the opportunity to travel so this is a way to bring the culture to the people of Austin,” Miller said. “Plus, Austin is so appreciative and accepting of new ideas and innovation. We couldn't think of a better place to launch it.”

New experiences

Dunlap ATX Founder Bridget Dunlap agrees. She said the concept developed in a conversation with Miller “as a means to provide a different type of experience other than a typical restaurant one.”

“The overall goal is to provide a unique experience that periodically changes yet always captures the essence of good food, art, and music,” Dunlap said.

Dunlap once ran Burn Pizza + Bar at the spot, before it recently shuttered. There will be minor renovations before the February launch. “East Austin is kind of the epicenter for art in Austin and we already had this location operating so it allowed for a quick and economical entry opportunity,” she said.

Lucy Sheffield, an East Austin resident and real estate agent, said that in general, the East Side is developing without following old-school retail formulas, such as securing a well-known store or restaurant to secure a plaza or shopping center.

“I’ve noticed that I don't have the bandwidth to visit all the new great places in the city before their lifespan is over,” she said. “It feels like a business that can change, like CollideATX, would ensure keeping the short attention span and diverse tastes and interests of Austinites.”

Plus, she believes multifunctional space is cost-effective and environmentally responsible.

“I think a lot of my generation (Gen X) and certainly millennials expect East Side businesses to hit on several cylinders at once: food, design, concept, use, hours, access,” Sheffield said. “Any business model that incorporates adapting, adjusting or exploring means it won't get old or obsolete.”

Blazing new trails

David Simmonds, principal and founder of Austin-based Retail Solutions, said he’s hearing about avant-garde concepts like CollideATX opening in Austin “all the time.”

For example, Sumptuary will be opening in 2017 at the former Satay space at Shoal Creek and West Anderson Lane. It is described as a hybrid pop-up/rentable restaurant and an incubator. The space will host chefs, both local and from out of town, who will cook their own menus for a period of days or weeks to test out concepts behind their restaurants. 

“While, of course, time will ultimately tell if these businesses will succeed or not, given the foodie town Austin has become, one would have to think that these concepts will be embraced by the locals and given every chance to live on and prosper,” Simmonds said.

December 4, 2016 - 2:23pm