Pensacola Native McKean Appointed to DIB Board

Posted: Feb 27, 2023 04:31 pm Updated: Oct 18, 2023 12:06 am

Chris McKean, co-owner of the recently renovated music venue landmark The Handlebar, has been appointed to the Downtown Improvement Board.


A Pensacola native, McKean was appointed to the board by Mayor D.C. Reeves and confirmed by the City Council on February 9. He replaces Claire Campbell who recently resigned her seat on the board.

McKean’s term will expire in June 2024, but he will be eligible to serve two more full three-year terms on the board, says DIB Executive Director Walker Wilson.


Upon learning that his property was in the DIB’s 44-block district, Wilson says McKean reached out to the board and expressed an interest in serving. 


“We are excited to have The Handlebar open and to be able to bring music and entertainment to our little corner of the city,” says McKean. “I am hoping that through my service on the DIB, I will be able to do more of the same for entire downtown area.”  


McKean, a former Chicago-based financial executive, and his wife, Kathy Sandstrom, bought The Handlebar property in 2019.


“We’re very pleased to have Chris on the board, and happy to have someone who’s not on the 'main drag' of Palafox and who's at the north end of the DIB’s district,” says Wilson. “It’s always a good thing to have someone come in and renovate a property that has been here for a long time, invest capital and make it new again,” Wilson adds.