Dave Chappelle to open comedy club in former fire station in Yellow Springs

Dave Chappelle’s company will buy the old Yellow Springs fire station on Corry Street and turn it into a comedy club.

The Yellow Springs Development Corp. finalized an agreement to sell the Miami Twp. Fire Station to Iron Table Holdings LLC, according to an announcement of the deal released late Monday night. Iron Table Holdings is owned by Chappelle.

The agreement with Chappelle comes after a several months-long process during which interested buyers were first asked to submit a preliminary development plan to the development corporation fire station subcommittee with details about how the project would contribute to the cultural vitality and the economic health of Yellow Springs. Lisa Abel, president of YSDC, said about six buyers presented plans for the fire station. Of those, three were detailed proposals for what they would do with the fire station property, Abel said.

The closing date for the sale of the fire house is set for early 2021, Abel said.

Corrie Van Ausdal, a member of the development corporation board who headed up the subcommittee on selling the fire station, said the group wanted someone to breathe life into the fire station.

“Each proposal the subcommittee fielded, we looked at them based on criteria and ranked them,” Van Ausdal said.

Some of the criteria the proposals were ranked on included how the business would fit in with Yellow Springs, how realistic the business proposals were in the time of the coronavirus pandemic, what kind of jobs it would create and how it would impact Yellow Springs.

“We think this will bring a new class of jobs to town,” she said. “We also considered that (Chappelle) is a minority business owner, he has a history of employing minorities and he is a person who has a clear commitment to amplifying voices of color.”

The fire station at 225 Corry St. was put up for sale this summer. The property is adjacent to the Little Miami Scenic Bike Trail. Anyone still working in the Corry Street building will move to 1001 Xenia Ave. in Yellow Springs.

The subcommittee determined that, of the proposals, the comedy club would be the “highest and best use” of the space, Van Ausdal said. The comedy club will hold about 140 people, according to plans submitted to the development corporation.

“This is a thing people would come to town for,” Van Ausdal said.

Abel called it a “multiplier effect.” Restaurants, hotels and nearby shops would all see a benefit from people coming to the comedy club, she said.

The agreement is the first community-based transaction to be carried out by the Yellow Springs Development Corp., a nonprofit board made up of representatives from the Miami Twp. Trustees, village officials, Yellow Springs schools, chamber of commerce, Community Foundation, Antioch College and villagers at large. Abel said that the group learned a lot in this first real estate sale.

The YSDC didn’t have the deed to the old fire station until Monday, Abel said. It had a contract ready for Chappelle and his lawyers in the fall, but his lawyers did not want to sign until the development corporation had the deed. That took longer than expected because one parcel hadn’t been properly documented and needed to be surveyed, Abel said.

“We are really grateful to Miami Twp. for letting this be our first project,” Abel said, “and I am excited for the comedy club to come to town.”

Van Ausdal said she is excited for how the comedy club might shift the energy of downtown.

Chappelle’s company has bought several plots of land in Yellow Springs, including several along Xenia Avenue, one on Dayton Street and one on Railroad Street.

In total, Iron Table Holdings has spent more than $1.6 million buying properties in Yellow Springs in 2020, according to Greene County Auditor’s Office records. Two properties, 214 Dayton St. and 150 Railroad St., were acquired in December.

Iron Table Holdings plans to use at least one of those properties, 403 Xenia Ave., as apartments, according to meeting minutes from an Aug. 11 Yellow Springs Planning Commission meeting.

Iron Table Holdings also owns properties at 239, 241 and 243 Xenia Ave. The company applied at the same meeting to zone 241 Xenia Ave. as a ground floor nail/hair salon and the top floor as apartments.

Chappelle’s publicist could not be reached for comment for this story.