Client: SoundSpace@Rabbits, owned by Claude Coleman, Jr. and Brett Spivey
Client Location: Asheville, NC
CDFI: Mountain BizWorks, Partner Community Capital, and Appalachian Community Capital
CDFI Service Area: AL, GA, KY, MD, MS, NY, NC, OH, SC, TN, PA, VA, WV
Small business financing
SoundSpace@Rabbits is an innovative music rehearsal and art studio facility in Asheville, North Carolina. Previously called the Rabbit’s Motel, the space was a 1947 Black-owned tourist court and soul food café where African Americans, including famous musicians and sports figures, stayed due to segregation policies and practices in the United States.
Despite these constraints, the neighborhood where SoundSpace is located was a bustling center of working- and middle-class families and thriving Black-owned businesses.
Historic photograph of Rabbit’s Motel
Fast forward to today and recognizing the need for accessible rehearsal spaces in the city’s burgeoning music scene, musicians Claude Coleman, Jr. and Brett Spivey joined forces to seek funding for the establishment of SoundSpace@Rabbits. As lead lender, Partner Community Capital (PCAP) has provided capital and support to the owners since 2018. It has also partnered with Mountain BizWorks, to further support SoundSpace financially, as well as with Appalachian Community Capital (ACC), which partnered with PCAP to provide a pivotal $200,000 loan for the project.
Left picture: SoundSpace@Rabbit’s following rehabilitation. Right picture (from left to right): Marten Jenkins, PCAP, Erika McGilley, PCAP, Claude Coleman, Jr., co-owner of SoundSpace@Rabbits, Matt Raker, Mountain BizWorks, and Donna Gambrell, ACC
The visionaries behind SoundSpace have successfully created a hub that addresses the scarcity of affordable rehearsal spaces, and much more. SoundSpace@Rabbits has blossomed into a recording studio, a music equipment store, and practice rooms, complemented by lessons and workshops. The project will also feature a soul food café, paying homage to the motel’s legacy. In addition, a gallery commemorates the baseball players who once found sanctuary at Rabbit’s Motel during a challenging era.
SoundSpace@Rabbits has also revived a cultural landmark, celebrating the heritage of the Southside Black community and early African American Asheville. It has also generated a ripple effect, catalyzing job creation, historical preservation, and artistic vibrancy, and it has significantly enriched the local music ecosystem, fostering a nurturing environment for musicians to flourish and communities to connect.
Claude Coleman, Jr. underscores the significance, stating, “SoundSpace embodies the spirit of our city’s past while creating a vibrant space where musicians, artists, and the community unite to create something truly remarkable.”
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