Editorial: Downtown Turnaround

The Majestic Theater is an asset, five years later.
Editorial: Downtown Turnaround




Five and a half years ago King Street was kind of a mess. The problem was Club Majestic, a nightclub in the old Majestic Theater that was plagued with fights and chaos and police calls. Lots of police calls. Five years ago this week, that changed.

Two young guys, Scott Leslie and Matt Gerding, bought the place and turned it around. They navigated city departments, an unfamiliar arts scene and neighborhood perceptions and created a venue for music and entertainment that today is one of the best things going downtown. The patrons love it, the neighbors love it…and best of all the cops love it.

Five years ago the conversation was actually whether a rowdy nightclub came with living downtown. Instead, Leslie and Gerding showed how vibrant, well run arts venues are compatible with the kind of urban center Madison is continuing to grow. There’s a celebration this weekend with a free concert Friday night. It’s a turnaround worth celebrating.