April 19 2017 03:33 PM

Spiral Dance Bar / The Tim Barron Group at RE/MAX

After 19 years, iconic Old Town nightclub Spiral Video & Dance Bar is up for sale. The owner is asking $375,000 for the business but hopes to retain ownership of the building.
Allan I. Ross/City Pulse

Spiral Dance Bar — Metro Lansing’s longest-running nightclub and its most prominent LGBT-friendly business — is up for sale. Last week, the 19-year-old bar/performance venue in Old Town was listed with the commercial real estate firm NAI Mid-Michigan/TMN Commercial for $375,000.

“I hope (whomever) buys it decides to keep it going as Spiral, but there’s a chance they could go in a different direction,” said Tom Donall, who owns the building, the property and the business. “Either way, it’s had a good run and proved that Lansing is a welcoming community. There were a lot of good times there.”

Since it opened in 1998, Spiral has been a hub for Lansing’s gay community. Donall, who is also an artist, designed the interior. With its brushed steel bar, handcrafted furniture, red velvet curtains and landscaped patio — complete with fire pit — it has served as a popular venue for parties surrounding local and statewide gay rights celebrations. It’s also served as a melting pot for gays and straights alike looking for a place to dance and commune.

“We’ve hosted guest DJs from around the world, and we’ve also given some of Lansing’s up-and-coming DJs their first opportunity,” Donall said. “(General manager) Sammy (Courtney) has been doing a great job running it, but right now my priority is focusing on the Palace.”

Ten years ago, Donall moved to Miami, and shortly afterward bought the Palace, an iconic South Beach gay bar. He still owns several buildings around Lansing, including the Old Town homes of Pablo’s Panaderia, 311 E. Grand River Ave., and the Grid, 226 E. Grand River Ave., as well as Blue Night Hookah Lounge, 224 S. Washington Square in downtown Lansing. He also has houses in Lansing and in Northern Michigan.

Spiral’s $375,000 price includes business operations, equipment and liquor license, with the new tenant being responsible for all taxes, insurance and maintenance on the 4,870-square-foot building and 0.375-acre property. Donall said he hopes to maintain ownership of the building but would consider selling it.

“My life is in Miami now, but Michigan will always be home for me, too,” Donall said. “I’m proud of what Spiral has become to local culture. Lansing needs a place like Spiral, but if someone’s going to turn it into something else, I’ll have to be OK with that. It’s become a part of Lansing’s history.”

Barron to the MAX
If you’re hunting for a home in the tri-county area sometime soon and the listing agent who answers the phone sounds like he should be on radio, there’s a chance he already is. Earlier this month, longtime local DJ Tim Barron joined the sales team at Lansing’s RE/MAX Real Estate Professionals office.

“I’ve been involved in real estate for years, but I’ve considered a move (to selling professionally) for a few years now,” Barron said. “Radio’s good, not great. And this move allows me to do something with the rest of my day.”

After spending 40 years in commercial radio, Barron left antennae-based stations in 2015 to launch his own Internet-only station, Tim Barron’s Radio Michigan (timbarronsradiomichigan.com). He hosts the station’s live weekday talk show from 7 to 10 a.m. and plays a blend of classic rock and news updates throughout the day. He also maintains an active role in multiple charity groups around town and serves as emcee for many high-profile Lansing events, including the Greater Lansing Balloon Festival, which benefits the Lansing Promise. It was at this event last year that Barron met the RE/MAX team.

“Everyone’s seen the RE/MAX balloon, so I just struck up a conversation with them,” Barron said. “I had no idea where it would lead. Life is funny.”


Barron said he started the real estate agent licensing process in November and recently passed his final exam. He said he chose RE/MAX because of its national and international presence, allowing him to work with Michigan buyers and sellers who may be looking at out-of-state moves.

“The best thing about (being licensed) is being able to help people find a home that’s a perfect fit for them,” Barron said. “And RE/MAX is a well-respected company that will give me a lot of ability to do that. I’m really looking forward to taking on this new role.”

“Tim Barron joining our firm is a fantastic opportunity for both of us,” said Bob Plesscher, broker/owner of the RE/MAX west Lansing office, via Facebook. “I’ve followed Tim’s career for years and feel like I’ve known him forever. His genuinely warm and engaging personality, desire to help his clients, tremendous work ethic and real world knowledge will no doubt benefit all those that will be working with Tim in his real estate career.”

The Tim Barron Group will serve both buyers and sellers of residential and commercial real estate. Barron can be reached at timbarron@remax.net.

Do you know of a new Greater Lansing business that should be featured in New in Town? Send an email to allan@lansingcitypulse.com.