ALBANY — The Fuze Box is for sale.
The 75-year-old Art Deco style building on Albany’s Central Avenue has served as the epicenter for the Capital District’s punk and hard rock scene long after it stopped slinging ham as a White Tower hamburger joint.
The 2,400-square-foot venue is yours for purchase at $244,900 according to NAIPlatform, the real estate agency under which it’s being sold. The cramped checkerboard dancehall hosted The Red Hot Chili Peppers just a few years before California punk band broke out with “Mother’s Milk” and “ Blood Sugar Sex Magik.“ Then, the venue was known as the QE2, and was home to a robust punk and rock scene.
According to an online article published last year by Albany historian Matt Malette, the building itself was moved from its original location on Washington Avenue in 1962. It moved a second time to its present resting place at 12 Central Ave.
Through the years, the building’s facade maintained curious advertising for White Tower Hamburgers. The building was originally owned as part of the early hamburger chain in the early ‘50s. It continued to be a restaurant into the ‘70s, wrote Malette. The building remained vacant until 1986, when Charlene and Dave Shortsleeve purchased it and turned it into the QE2 club. It changed its name to FuzeBox shortly after ownership changed hands in the ‘90s.
Virus-related shutdowns caused the popular venue to fall silent since March, but it had remained popular to a wide variety of groups. In recent years, it was the place to go to scratch that itch for Madonna and Eddie Money. A near weekly ‘80s music night played nothing but pop tunes from the Me Decade. Dancers could groove on the dance floor, or take a chance on the stage. A VIP section was upstairs on the loft shared with the DJs booth where one would go to share requests. Live shows continued, often with the goth-industrial scene under the Exhumanity social group.
“Albany is probably [my] second favorite city I’ve played in behind Detroit in my 15-plus-year DJ career,” wrote William Dice Willard on FuzeBox’s Facebook page. “Such a vibe up there!
Local fans grew concerned to see its windows boarded up when social unrest ignited in Albany following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. A riot sparked in parts of the Capital City. Owners of the establishment, however, were only protecting the restaurant. The venue has remained closed as other restaurants started reopening across the state last month. Comments on social media asked when they would see the Fuze Box reopen. The retail sign was posted up last week.
“I’m so glad I was able to rock out there a handful of times,” wrote Willard. “Staff was always really cool. Venue as a whole is freaking awesome!”
City zoning allows for artisanal manufacturing, cafe, gallery and restaurant businesses, according to NAIPlatform. Among other potential uses, the real estate agency lists retail, warehouse, office, day care and residential.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.
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