Thursday Sep 22 2011
Nightclub banking on rebirth of Old Town
By: ToLewis, The Press Tribune
A new Roseville nightclub could soon change the face — and the perception — of Old Town Roseville for good, club owners say. Robert Auger and Wesley Metcalf, founders of Elite Entertainment Group, say they see the value and potential in the city’s entertainment district and want to help expand that vision. Their first move was to bring an upscale venue and what they call a “legitimate Vegas-style nightclub” to Old Town. So they purchased the old Bank of Italy building on the corner of Church and Lincoln streets in March and, after close to $750,000 in renovations, converted it into a nightclub that is set to open on Oct. 7. The Vault Nightclub will be the first of its kind in the region with two full bars on two levels, a state-of-the-art sound system, lighting, a new hardwood dance floor and five VIP seating areas. But perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the new club is its namesake, a 1920s vault left behind from the original bank that has been converted into a VIP private party area. “I’m not aware of any place around right now that has a 1920s vault in a nightclub,” Metcalf said. Metcalf and Auger say their goal is to advance the vision of the city of Roseville and bring new life to the city’s entertainment district by attracting a different demographic of people, and potentially more new businesses, to the area. “Our goal is to help the restaurants and other businesses that are down here to survive,” Metcalf said. “Our motivation is to get those people that drive to downtown Sacramento for those nightclubs and turn them back around.” Born and raised in Roseville, Metcalf has been working with other establishments in Old Town for more than three years and said he and Auger created Elite Entertainment Group to keep money in Roseville. “We came down here with a three-year business plan,” Auger said. “That business plan includes multiple locations with different themes that aren’t currently down here.” Auger said Elite Entertainment’s main goal with The Vault is to bring an upscale venue to Old Town, a place where strict dress codes are enforced in a classy, safe environment for people to dance and celebrate. Even more so, both Auger and Metcalf said they see the potential in Old Town Roseville as a legitimate district that can attract a wide demographic of people. “This is my backyard, so I take pride in trying to redevelop this area,” Metcalf said. “Ten years ago, you wouldn’t want to drive through here. Businesses were dying. Once the city started redeveloping and businesses started popping up, I personally tried to make every effort I could to get involved.” Joe Tucey, owner of The Boxing Donkey in Old Roseville, said he thinks a Vegas-style nightclub in Old Roseville is a good idea, so long as it’s done correctly. “I’m looking forward to it,” Tucey said. “We need to give people a reason to come down here.” Metcalf and Auger said that working with the city of Roseville to get the business up and running has been much easier than they originally anticipated. “One thing about this city that I’ve appreciated is everybody seems to be solution-oriented when we come to the table with an issue,” Auger said. Kevin Payne, assistant director of Planning and Redevelopment for the city of Roseville, said the city has invested $13 million in the streetscape and infrastructure improvements in Old Town over the past several years in an effort to attract businesses like The Vault. “From the perspective of moving the vision that was established by the Downtown Specific Plan, this type of use really goes to support the city’s past investment,” Payne said. “I’m glad to hear that it is actually coming to fruition.” The building was originally built in 1886. After burning down in a massive fire in the 1920s, it was rebuilt and became the Bank of Italy in 1928. Since then the building has been home to a variety of businesses — a clothing store, café, a church, a mortgage company and more. It was once even the home of the Press Tribune. Metcalf said wood outlines of the tunnels that were once used to transport money from the rail yards to the bank are still visible in the basement of building. Auger said many people don’t realize that Roseville has an entertainment district and that Elite Entertainment wants to be an advertisement for the district. “There’s a lot of exciting stuff that’s going to be going on here,” Metcalf said. “And we kind of just added a little bit more fuel to the fire.” Toby Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TobyLewis_RsvPT.