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Taking Back 4th&B

Who will capture the coveted downtown corner this time?
Who will capture the coveted downtown corner this time?

The former owner of 4th&B, the 1500-capacity downtown concert venue, says he is in the process of taking the club back from its current owner and that he is suing Live Nation, the concert promoter that owns nearby competitor House of Blues.

“I’m taking it back,” says Ali Nilforshan, who lives in North County. Nilforshan was one of 17 investors who bought the downtown venue in 2003. He later bought them all out and secured sole ownership.

That group acquired 4th&B from founder Bob Speth, who converted the 25,000-square-foot former bank building on the corner of Fourth Avenue and B Street in 1995. Speth previously owned the Bacchanal club located in a Clairemont Mesa strip mall in the ’80s and early ’90s.

“I sold it to Vince and Judy Puma,” says Nilforshan, who claims he did not receive an agreed-upon buyout amount from the Pumas when they took over 4th&B two years ago.

But what if the Pumas want to reach an agreement on what is owed? “I’m taking it back no matter what,” says Nilforshan, who tells the Reader that the Pumas have been served with a notice of repossession. Nilforshan says the owner of the building has been getting paid rent, so there is no danger of 4th&B going away as a business.

The direction of 4th&B’s programming may change, however. When Nilforshan ran the club, he focused more on electronica dance nights. He was known for hiring major DJs such as Felix Da Housecat. Puma has since pursued more rock acts. “I haven’t decided what direction to go,” Nilforshan says.

From his years of running 4th&B, he says he learned that San Diegans are frugal with their concert dollars. “The major acts always do well. But it’s the middle-of-the-road artists who really struggle in San Diego.”

Of his big disappointments when he ran 4th&B, Nilforshan says a show by the late James Brown “was a big letdown” and that a Whitesnake show also had a poor turnout. But, he also has good memories: “I had the Kings of Leon right before they went mega big. I also had two sold-out shows in one night by Black Eyed Peas just as they were blowing up.... I’m looking forward to doing it again.”

Nilforshan says he expects to have control of the business “in less than six months.” Vince Puma did not respond to requests for comment.

Nilforshan did not want to get into details about a lawsuit he says he filed six months ago against Live Nation, which owns the House of Blues chain of nightclubs and is one of the largest concert promoters in the country. In February of 2006, Live Nation signed an agreement to take over operation and booking of 4th&B, even though they also owned the nearby House of Blues. By November of 2007, Live Nation walked away from 4th&B. At the time, one insider commented, “Only the dimmest of light bulbs could not have known that arrangement wouldn’t work out. Everyone knew the House of Blues would put its best acts in its own club that it owns just a block away.”

Nilforshan took the club back until he sold the business to the Pumas in 2009.

Some of the big-name acts 4th&B has hosted this year include Snoop Dogg, Buckcherry, Eric Johnson, X, the Whispers, Kem, O.M.D., Dokken, TV on the Radio, and Ramón Ayala

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Who will capture the coveted downtown corner this time?
Who will capture the coveted downtown corner this time?

The former owner of 4th&B, the 1500-capacity downtown concert venue, says he is in the process of taking the club back from its current owner and that he is suing Live Nation, the concert promoter that owns nearby competitor House of Blues.

“I’m taking it back,” says Ali Nilforshan, who lives in North County. Nilforshan was one of 17 investors who bought the downtown venue in 2003. He later bought them all out and secured sole ownership.

That group acquired 4th&B from founder Bob Speth, who converted the 25,000-square-foot former bank building on the corner of Fourth Avenue and B Street in 1995. Speth previously owned the Bacchanal club located in a Clairemont Mesa strip mall in the ’80s and early ’90s.

“I sold it to Vince and Judy Puma,” says Nilforshan, who claims he did not receive an agreed-upon buyout amount from the Pumas when they took over 4th&B two years ago.

But what if the Pumas want to reach an agreement on what is owed? “I’m taking it back no matter what,” says Nilforshan, who tells the Reader that the Pumas have been served with a notice of repossession. Nilforshan says the owner of the building has been getting paid rent, so there is no danger of 4th&B going away as a business.

The direction of 4th&B’s programming may change, however. When Nilforshan ran the club, he focused more on electronica dance nights. He was known for hiring major DJs such as Felix Da Housecat. Puma has since pursued more rock acts. “I haven’t decided what direction to go,” Nilforshan says.

From his years of running 4th&B, he says he learned that San Diegans are frugal with their concert dollars. “The major acts always do well. But it’s the middle-of-the-road artists who really struggle in San Diego.”

Of his big disappointments when he ran 4th&B, Nilforshan says a show by the late James Brown “was a big letdown” and that a Whitesnake show also had a poor turnout. But, he also has good memories: “I had the Kings of Leon right before they went mega big. I also had two sold-out shows in one night by Black Eyed Peas just as they were blowing up.... I’m looking forward to doing it again.”

Nilforshan says he expects to have control of the business “in less than six months.” Vince Puma did not respond to requests for comment.

Nilforshan did not want to get into details about a lawsuit he says he filed six months ago against Live Nation, which owns the House of Blues chain of nightclubs and is one of the largest concert promoters in the country. In February of 2006, Live Nation signed an agreement to take over operation and booking of 4th&B, even though they also owned the nearby House of Blues. By November of 2007, Live Nation walked away from 4th&B. At the time, one insider commented, “Only the dimmest of light bulbs could not have known that arrangement wouldn’t work out. Everyone knew the House of Blues would put its best acts in its own club that it owns just a block away.”

Nilforshan took the club back until he sold the business to the Pumas in 2009.

Some of the big-name acts 4th&B has hosted this year include Snoop Dogg, Buckcherry, Eric Johnson, X, the Whispers, Kem, O.M.D., Dokken, TV on the Radio, and Ramón Ayala

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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