Musicians in photo may be closer than they appear.

The 401 Race Street property spanning from 4th to 5th street between Race and Florist streets has been a huge topic of discussion for those trying to develop the space, as well as for locals who aren’t so sure that the plans in mind for 401 Race Street are what’s in the best interest of the neighborhood.

Developer (and Arc Properties CEO and founder) Robert Ambrosi is looking to incorporate Oklahoma-based Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill on the ground level of the 100,000-square-foot retail/residential/hotel space. 401 Race would also include a dance floor measuring approximately 1,500 square feet (line-dance central), 140 hotel rooms and a 200-car parking garage but locals aren’t too thrilled about the idea. Ambrosi believes that this kind of entertainment component is important in making something as big as a hotel development work.

It’s not the Toby Keith/country theme that locals necessarily disagree with (who doesn’t love Taylor Swift?); it’s the worry that it will turn into a nightclub. Although there are truly no intentions of making it a nightclub atmosphere with Ambrosi, neighbors worry that if the restaurant closes, the building would still be approved for live music for the next owner. First District Councilman Frank DiCiccio knows from experience that a restrictive license from the PLCB, agreed upon by both the residents and the developer, will help in satisfying the civilians. This sort of restrictive license would control things such as hours of operation and seating limitations.

Residents in opposition of this specific development are, by some, being called NIMBY’s (Not In My Back Yard), referring to the belief that the people of Old City wouldn’t mind if this was happening at a different locale in the city, they just don’t want it in the midst of their quaint, quiet neighborhood. We hope to learn more about this project in the future and wish Ambrosi the best of luck!