Salisbury Fire Headquarters: What’s to Come

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The Salisbury Fire Headquarters in downtown is an iconic building that was once the headquarters for all the fire stations in the surrounding area. Since 2007, the building has been vacant, many times going to bid with the hope it would be purchased and revived. Last year, the Devreco LLC group comprised of Joey Gilkerson, Chris Gilkerson and Bradley Gillis were awarded the firehouse and the ideas for the historic building began flowing.

After months of anticipation, Joey Gilkerson partnered with to show the community Devreco LLC’s plans for the redevelopment. The YouTube video had reached over 1,000 views in just 24 hours, spreading like wild-fire across social media and in the local community.  Gilkerson shares that the property will turn into “Headquarters LIVE,” a mixed-use, music and community venue. Gilkerson envisions the bottom floor to become a music venue, housing shows for local and regional artists and also a community space and banquet hall. The second floor will become a working space for growing entrepreneurs.

In this Q&A, Gilkerson elaborates on his goals and visions for the firehouse and downtown. 

1.       Where did the interest come from the group to purchase the firehouse?

This may be up for the great debate of nature vs nurture. As second generation real estate developers and downtown advocates, I don’t know if we were genetically pre-disposed  to have a passion for downtown real estate or if the countless dinner table discussions made it catch on. We have much more than an interest in the firehouse, we have a passion for it. The firehouse is arguably the most identifiable building within our community. We want to use it to re-instill the sense of community in Salisbury and rediscover the identity of downtown that has fizzled through the years.

2.        You said the goal for the second floor is to create an entrepreneur work space. Why do you think this is a significant addition to the community?

We have a strong and growing entrepreneur community and need a place to gather. Additions to downtown Salisbury such as Main Roots are definitely great foster homes for the
entrepreneur growth, but we can only drink so much coffee in one day. That, and a space with hours extending into the evening will provide a more flexible solution for entrepreneurs.

3.       Revitalize and downtown are two words that have become synonymous the past few years when talking about the city of Salisbury. What exactly is your vision for downtown?  

My vision is for those words to change to renaissance and Salisbury. What I mean by that is we are not pushing to revitalize downtown anymore, the renaissance is already among us. Instead of referring to the downtown area as “downtown,” people will refer to it as just Salisbury -as it will be the cultural center and identity of our city. Shops, restaurants and art already canvas the downtown area. Frequenting downtown is starting to catch on, and great things happen when momentum is in place.

4.       What impact do you think this venue will have on the local arts community?

In a sense, this venue will create a local arts community. Most people hear art, and they think of a paint on a canvas. Performing arts, music in particular, is an art form that is not currently being strongly supported. Most areas with similar demographics have some form of a music venue. Salisbury already has musicians, so a venue doesn’t necessarily create the talent. A venue gives them a place to gather and showcase their talent, thus creating a community.

5.       What can the public do to support the revitalization of downtown and the development of the firehouse?

Show up! The best thing the everyone can do is to come and see what our local music scene and downtown have to offer. Collaboration is the key to the success of a venue like this – we are intentionally not including a kitchen/restaurant component in this building. We want people to come downtown, to see a show, and to see all of the other restaurants, bars, and other businesses downtown Salisbury has to offer!

Article By: Sophia Smecker
Photo Credit: SMDi Photography