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Middletown Transcript
  • Couple wants to bring music venue to downtown Middletown

  • Mike and Dawn Morris want to turn the 100-year-old building into a music venue.
    It the spirit of the buildings history, they want to call it The Vault.
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  • The old bank building on Main Street has been vacant for more than a decade.
    And a Middletown couple has big plans for it.
    Mike and Dawn Morris want to turn the 100-year-old building into a music venue.
    It the spirit of the buildings history, they want to call it The Vault.
    "It could be very good for the town," Mike Morris said. "It will bring people from all around."
    He said that he spent more than a year and a half sitting at Sully's Irish Pub thinking about what could be done with the empty bank.
    Then it hit him – it would make a beautiful venue.
    The couple wants to have a variety of musicians perform, including blues, jazz, and pop. They would also like to bring in live comedians.
    The Morris' already have the finances in place, the town's support, and drawn out blueprints where the stage, bar, and lounge will go inside, but they have hit a bump in the road.
    The couple has been in negotiations with the realtor for the past two months, and even though a tentative agreement has been reached, everything has been stalled.
    More than $8,000 has already been invested in to the project.
    Despite a "For Rent" sign being in front of the old building, making contact with the realtors has become more difficult.
    In January, the Morris' addressed Middletown Town Council with their concerns.
    "We've hit a stone wall," they told council. "We're having issues with the management company."
    The realtors from the Douglas Development Corporation in Washington D.C. stopped returning the Morris' phone calls, Mike Morris said.
    The Morris' have had the keys to the building for a few months now, and every time they go inside, the conditions of the building continue to deteriorate.
    The longer the negations take, the more work they will have to put in to renovate the inside.
    "You have to wear a hard hat in there right now," Mike Morris said.
    The idea of bringing a venue to downtown Middletown has excited many people.
    Morris said that the town has even approached them asking if they would consider hosting a few drag shows each year at then new venue and if they would consider hosting "Under 21" nights.
    The would-be owners said yes.
    Despite the hip atmosphere that comes with a music venue, the Morris' want it as historic as possible.
    The name of the planned venue was derived from the stainless steel safety deposit vault that still sits inside of the building.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Morris' have all of the old safe deposit keys that were used in the vault, which they want to incorporate into the décor of the venue.
    "We don't want to take away that it's a bank," Mike Morris said.
    He plans on using the actual vault as cold storage, which a bar will be constructed around.
    The Morris' plan on using 85 percent of what's already inside, including the 100 year old plywood floors, which they want to preserve.
    The Vault won't be a restaurant because Mike Morris said that they doesn't want to take away from local business, and that they will close at midnight and send those who want to drink until "last call" to Sully's, which is right across the street.
    "We don't want to be a restaurant, we want to bring new business here."

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