By John Schaffner
Radio host Frank Ski, who talks up the airwaves at urban contemporary station V-103, wants to open a 15,000-square-foot urban contemporary restaurant and entertainment venue named Kolor on Peachtree Road beneath and on the backside of the new Orvis retail store in Buckhead.
The venue will be applying to Neighborhood Planning Unit B (NPU-B) for a liquor license as a restaurant but, according to reliable sources, will include a wine-tasting room and private club ability and will be set up to function as a site for live performances by local, national and international music performers.
The application is expected to be in the name of Frank Rodriguez, Ski’s birth name, to keep the venue separate from his radio interests.
Kolor would be in a new retail strip center developed by Selig Enterprises at 3275 Peachtree Road, north of the intersection of Peachtree and Piedmont roads. The front door to the restaurant/entertainment venue would face the backyards of homes in the Peachtree Park neighborhood.
Scott Selig, vice president of Selig Enterprises, who is working with Ski on the project, said it would face the backyard of his home in that neighborhood.
Selig, who refers to Ski as someone he has known for years and respects, said: “Kolor is not going to be like a Cotton Club, Vision, Compound or even a Roxy. It is going to be more intimate.”
He said it would be a place where Nora Jones or Elton John might tune up for a major tour by trying out a new act in front of a smaller crowd.
“It will be an upscale, intimate, concert-hall setting,” Selig said, “not hard-core hip-hop.”
He said Kolor will represent a $4 million investment.
According to NPU-B Chairman Jeff Shell, Kolor was anticipated on the NPU’s November agenda, but the owner’s representatives asked that the matter be removed because they had not met with the Peachtree Park neighborhood group and did not have a building permit or plans for the facility, which the NPU would want to see. Shell also is a resident of Peachtree Park.
Since then, Ski and his representatives have met with Peachtree Park residents and reportedly worked out several of the neighborhood concerns, such as noise from the venue, late-night noise generated by patrons leaving in their cars from a parking lot adjacent to the neighborhood and people hanging out in the parking lot.
There also is a concern about whether enough parking spaces are available. But Selig Enterprises also owns AAA Parking, which has valet parking services and handles the parking lots at several nearby hotels and facilities.
Selig also said a large parking lot adjacent to the venue stretches behind the Caribou Coffee and vitamin shop next door to the Orvis shopping center. Selig Enterprises owns all of the property along Peachtree from the Embassy Suites Hotel to Piedmont Road.
According to Shell and Sally Silver, who chairs NPU-B’s Development and Transportation Committee, Selig and Ski have agreed to soundproofing measures within the building and have constructed a fence around the parking lot to reduce noise and light pollution reaching the adjacent neighborhood.
Silver said Kolor may have to apply for a special exception for off-site parking to have enough spaces available. She questioned whether the parking behind adjacent properties could be used by Kolor because the majority of the lot is zoned R-4 (residential, not commercial). Selig, however, said commercial use of the space has been grandfathered in for years.
“We put in controls to deal with what I thought the neighborhood might be concerned with,” Selig said. He said the facility will be set up a lot like Phillips Arena, with a walkway-type area immediately inside — separated from the entertainment venue — where patrons could be staged for arriving and for waiting for their automobiles when they depart.
“We own AAA Parking and will implement valet parking controls for Kolor,” Selig said.
Selig said the meetings with the neighborhood groups have gone well. He said Selig Enterprises has a history of working with neighborhood groups to mitigate potential problems before they become real problems.
“We are very cognizant of our reputation,” Selig said. “If we didn’t believe in the concept and what he (Ski) says he is going to do, we would turn it down.”
He added, “I know him (Ski) personally, and I know his reputation is also very important to him.”