City Hall is buzzing about plans for a night club in the sagging, nearly defunct University Mall, once a premier retail center.
Bryan Stewart has applied for a private club alcohol permit for Envy Restaurant and Lounge in the 13,000 square feet formerly occupied by Osco. Stewart, who has a lease with mall manager Simon Property, wants alcohol sales until 5 a.m. for a club with live music, karaoke, dancing and food service. The application would transfer an inactive permit for a club that once operated at 119 Main Street, but which Stewart says has no connection to the new venture.
Stewart, a former sales manager for Power 92 and Hot 96.5, stations with hip-hop and R&B formats, has a permit hearing scheduled for late June. He hopes to open by July 1.
Simon Property has insisted in a lawsuit by owners of land beneath the mall that it is serious about restoring the property. A federal judge has bought Simon’s argument in part, and given it time for some repair work. That trial is currently in recess.
A number of city officials don’t think a night club is in keeping with Simon’s promises or city hopes for revitalization of University Avenue, where a high-rent shopping center is under construction nearby. Simon, they note, also continues to renege on its promise to pay $25,000 toward an Urban Land Institute study of the University commercial strip.
Stewart sees his club as a plus. “I think that it will bring a lot of entertainment dollars to the city. It’s going to be a good, safe, nice place for people to be.” He said there will be a weekend brunch, among other food service. He initially told us entertainment would be “R&B and hip-hop,” then amended that to omit hip-hop. “It will be old school, jazz, R&B and blues,” he said.
Back to the drawing board
A recent magazine advertisement for Summit Heights, a Moses Tucker-proposed real estate development in the Capitol View neighborhood, has provoked an unhappy reaction from neighbors.
“Almost a year ago, the city approved Moses Tucker’s plan to build some nice condos on our street, directly across from 318 N. Summit,” one resident wrote in an email to city planning official Dana Carney. “The city approved the material, the roofs and the overall look of the units to semi-blend in with the ‘Craftsman’ architecture on our street. This morning my neighbor sent me the attached photo from a local magazine advertising the project ‘Summit Heights’ ... . Mr. Carney, this in NO WAY even resembles what was approved. This looks as if ‘George Jetson’ lives here!!”
City planning and development director Tony Bozynski says that while “it is hard to tell from just a rendering ... it appears it doesn’t have some of the elements or materials that were part of their approval.”
Bozynski says he has requested a meeting with Moses Tucker representatives to review the design. If the revisions are significant enough, the entire project would have to go back through the city approval process.