The historic Ritz theater in 320 East Sixth Street will soon host a comedy club linked to a recently controversial podcast host and new Austin resident Joe Rogan, according to a number of local property filings and an application to the city’s Historic Landmarks Commission. A permit to install new signage at the front of the building is on the consent agenda for the next commission meeting on February 28, along with backup documents for the renovation item using the name Comedy-mother. Three potential options for the new club sign are included:
Previous reports indicated that Rogan planned to open a comedy club in West Austin, but its acquisition of One World Theater ultimately fell through, with East Sixth Street mentioned last year as a potential new location for the club. The Ritz property was purchased from previous owners Craddock Properties in November 2021 by Asylum Real Estate Holdings, a company run by Rogan representative Matthew Lichtenberg of Level Four Business Management in Los Angeles. Lichtenberg, along with Rogan and his wife Jessica, is also the director of a recently incorporated entity known as Rogan Family Foundation, Inc.
The building, opened in 1929 with a design by Austin architect Hugo Kuehne, has a long history of use as both a standard and adult movie theater, as well as short stints as a concert hall and punk rock club. in the 1970s and 80s – there’s comedy history here too, with the theater briefly hosting the famous local troupe The follies of Esther. The building previously housed the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz from 2007 until its closure last year.
The request to the historic commission — which, due to its presence on the consent agenda, is likely to pass without meaningful discussion — plans to remove old Alamo signage and install Comedy Mothership branding from the club, as well as modifications of the door and window model. of the west facade which will restore the building to its original appearance based on historical photos. The club will add a new awning to the existing frame above the sidewalk, replace the tile at the entrance and install a roll-up door to prevent access to the club lobby after hours.
While these documents paint a clear picture of this property’s new connection to Rogan and its future as a comedy club, other details, including a timeline for renovations or an opening date for the business, remain. unknown. Still, transforming this historic property into the heart of downtown would be a hugely visible sign of Austin’s new status as a celebrity relocation hotspot.