Alex Cooley Returns

Two icons of the Atlanta live music scene have returned, one with a $6 million remodel and new name, the other with a new outlook and a fresh desire to get back into the concert business

The Buckhead Theatre, formerly the Coca-Cola Roxy, reopened June 3 with none other than legendary concert promoter Alex Cooley at the helm managing the venue.

Cooley makes his comeback after more than six years of what he thought was going to be retirement, leaving then-Clear Channel Entertainment and moving to his spread on Georgia’s Lookout Mountain.

But he found he could only download so much music and read so many books before the itch returned. With his non-compete from CCE (now Live Nation) expired, and Aaron’s founder Charlie Loudermilk – the new owner of the former Roxy theatre, beckoning, Cooley is back in business. And in a new condo, too.

“They gave me a condominium, a high rise, to use so I moved part-time back to Atlanta and I go back to the other house when I can,” Cooley told Pollstar. “Elton John’s condo is across the street. I can almost spit and hit it, so it’s not that far,” he added, laughing.

That’s a nice incentive, certainly. But the makeover on the Buckhead was no small inducement, either. The main floor sports a 5,000-square-foot lobby, adorned with leather couches, a large bar and dance floor that also serves as an entry to the 8,000-square-foot main theatre.

There’s both an orchestra and balcony in the main theatre, including 260 permanent balcony seats. The floor is open and can accommodate flexible capacities. The 7,000-square-foot second floor can be configured into a dividable event space with a 400 capacity.

Loudermilk installed a state-of-the-art lighting and sound system and 10-foot LED marquee, and will host not just concerts but lectures, comedians, Broadway plays, and public and private events.

All plumbing, wiring and HVAC systems were replaced, a large projector screen was installed along with a green room for performers, and a catering kitchen has been added. And Loudermilk decided who better to manage than Cooley?

“The Buckhead Theatre came along and it’s small enough that I don’t have to work a 16-hour day or anything like that,” Cooley said. “It’s a small theatre, and it was the Roxy that I used to own a long time ago. Loudermilk redid it from stem to stern. And it’s really a beautiful place.

“Hopefully we’ll make it into a good jumpin’ place. If it’s what I envision it to be, it’s going to have a little bit of everything. That’s what I’m trying to make it. It’s going to take about six more months to see if we’re on the right road, but I think we’re going to make it.”