Though the newer Hammerjacks threw few rock shows, Allen said his band's gig there seemed like past concerts at the South Howard Street club.
"The night that we played it, it had a great, great feel to it," Allen said. "It felt like the old one. It was packed and people were rocking out. I think in some respects the Hammerjacks prior to the one on Guilford was a point in time, and sometimes it's really hard to capture that."
The city's musical landscape changed significantly after the new Hammerjacks opened. Rams Head Live, a concert hall in Power Plant Live that cost more than $10 million and holds 1,600 opened in late 2004. Nationally touring club acts found new homes there and at Sonar, a refurbished warehouse near Hammerjacks on Saratoga Street with a 1,200-person capacity that opened shortly before Rams Head Live. In 2003, the 8x10 Club on Cross Street also received a $2.5 million makeover.
Hammerjacks wasn't a major player anymore, some in the club business said yesterday.
"It was not an important live music venue - not in my world, the rock concert world," said Hurwitz, of the 9:30 Club. "The old Hammerjacks is really the story. This is not even the same story, but it is a good reason to reminisce."
Hammerjacks on Guilford will likely be replaced with a tower at least 40 stories tall of condominiums or apartments and ground-level retail, Otis Rolley III, the city's planning director, said yesterday.
Rolley said the city supports the concept of the plan. Developers have presented conceptual plans but have not filed specific plans with the city, he said.
"The preference of the city is to activate all of downtown on both sides of the JFX," Rolley said. "You want height here in downtown. You want people living right near their workplaces with access to conventional retail."
The Guilford Avenue corridor is underused, prime downtown space near City Hall dotted with self-storage and garages, he said.
"We could get more for the city and the neighborhood other than the existing uses," Rolley said.
As for Hammerjacks closing, he said: "You would have to assume it wouldn't be closing if it were highly successful."
The closing reflects nothing more than supply and demand, Hurwitz said. In this case, "it's a real estate deal - and if that is more important than what was happening in the club, that kind of says it all right there," he said.