The re-activation of the Khyber Building at 1588 Barrington is a cause very close to my heart. So much of my history in the music scene is tied to that building, not to mention it’s where I met my wife in 1994. There is not another building in Halifax or even Nova Scotia that connects the arts, music, LGBTQ and theatre communities like the Khyber has. It is also one of the most historic and iconic buildings in the entire city. The interior has two large rooms with preserved interiors that could likely be good candidates for interior heritage designation, not to mention its stunning gothic facade.
When the Khyber ended up on city staff’s surplus list last September (with their recommendation that the building be sold), I got involved with a group called Friends of the Khyber. We have been active in making a case to the city for keeping the building publicly owned, restoring it and re-activating it as an arts incubator and mixed use community space. This is no small feat and city council is very much divided on whether they will keep it or sell it. They have given us until the fall to make our case.
Friends of the Khyber have teamed up with Amy Melmock (representing Neptune Theatre), the Khyber Arts Society (former anchor tenants of the building) and architects David Garrett and Graeme Duffus amongst others. This larger team has been researching and compiling the information needed to get a real sense of what it will take to reoccupy the Khyber and make it viable. This research includes an independent assessment of renovations needed and what their costs could be, potential tenants for the Khyber, a reasonable rent structure and business model, a governance model for potential tenants and what kind of private and public fundraising commitments may be needed to cover the capital renovation costs. We intend to take this plan to city staff before the Khyber returns to council in the fall.
Having said all that, this is the summer where we make our case, rally more public support and celebrate a place that we love. It’s The Summer of the Khyber.
I wanted to have a show in celebration of the Khyber and figured we could do some fundraising at the same time. The Shore Club in Hubbards seemed like great place to hold it. Although the Khyber is in downtown Halifax I truly believe what it represents is of relevance to the entire city and province. All profits from this event will go to what we are calling The Khyber Building Fund.
The money raised from this event will not be enough to renovate the Khyber. It is starting point and a small gesture to show the city how many of us care about the 1588 Barrington and that we are capable of raising money. If we make our case successfully to city council in the fall and get the green light then no doubt there will be a much larger fundraising campaign launched.
Hope to see you at the Shore Club!
Tickets are available at: https://etixnow.com/events/joel-plaskett-and-the-emergency/sep-4-2015/the-shore-club
Other Summer of the Khyber events and announcements can be found at www.friendsofthekhyber.org
To raise awareness and promote the fund Friends of the Khyber have officially declared the summer of 2015 to be “The Summer of the Khyber” and are encouraging supporters to use the hastag #sotk2015 when mentioning the events on social media.