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Cops naysay downtown opening of Phantom Lounge

“Highest crime area in the city”

Phantom Lounge and Nightclub may open soon downtown at 1014 Fifth Avenue (just north of Broadway). This will be the third Phantom Lounge location in San Diego County. Unlike the two existing businesses, this one will have a full-service restaurant, including beer, wine, spirits, hookah, and live entertainment.

Civic San Diego hearing officer Paul Anderson on October 10 granted a conditional use permit to Phantom Lounge, LLC, and Vigen Hanna, its chairman and CEO. CivicSD had received a letter from San Diego Downtown Residents Group indicating their opposition to the project. Gary Smith, the group’s president, stated they favor limited hours, no “shows,” and strict control of crowds and noise.

The San Diego Police Department recommended on September 25 that CivicSD deny the use permit, saying it would be “detrimental to the public health, safety, and welfare of the community and city.” It stated that “the ABC license they are seeking (Type 47) does not allow live entertainment.” The SDPD also said it would be “in the highest crime area and third highest alcohol-related crime area in the city.”

Phantom's location is across the street from the Hotel Palomar, Broadway Lofts, and House of Blues. The Yard House is a block away on Fourth Avenue. And more bars and clubs are located nearby in the Gaslamp Quarter.

Sean Finnegan, redevelopment VP at Aimco, presented the Broadway Lofts’ viewpoint. Finnegan wrote that he's “very concerned” about crowds, noise, and hours of operation.

According to the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, a business with a Type 47 license is technically a “restaurant” and not a nightclub. The proprietor must operate it as a “bona fide eating place...and must make actual and substantial sales of meals for consumption on the premises."

The eatery will have live entertainment, via a disc jockey, but no patron dancing will be allowed. Marco Polo Cortes appeared at the hearing on behalf of Hanna, emphasizing, “We're a restaurant, not a nightclub,” though “nightclub” is part of the proposed establishment’s name. Hanna said he chose the name to make it sound “edgy.” The restaurant will offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The property is owned by On Broadway SD Partners, LP. Interior construction of Phantom Lounge has already begun. Owners plan to have operating hours of Sunday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.

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Phantom Lounge and Nightclub may open soon downtown at 1014 Fifth Avenue (just north of Broadway). This will be the third Phantom Lounge location in San Diego County. Unlike the two existing businesses, this one will have a full-service restaurant, including beer, wine, spirits, hookah, and live entertainment.

Civic San Diego hearing officer Paul Anderson on October 10 granted a conditional use permit to Phantom Lounge, LLC, and Vigen Hanna, its chairman and CEO. CivicSD had received a letter from San Diego Downtown Residents Group indicating their opposition to the project. Gary Smith, the group’s president, stated they favor limited hours, no “shows,” and strict control of crowds and noise.

The San Diego Police Department recommended on September 25 that CivicSD deny the use permit, saying it would be “detrimental to the public health, safety, and welfare of the community and city.” It stated that “the ABC license they are seeking (Type 47) does not allow live entertainment.” The SDPD also said it would be “in the highest crime area and third highest alcohol-related crime area in the city.”

Phantom's location is across the street from the Hotel Palomar, Broadway Lofts, and House of Blues. The Yard House is a block away on Fourth Avenue. And more bars and clubs are located nearby in the Gaslamp Quarter.

Sean Finnegan, redevelopment VP at Aimco, presented the Broadway Lofts’ viewpoint. Finnegan wrote that he's “very concerned” about crowds, noise, and hours of operation.

According to the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, a business with a Type 47 license is technically a “restaurant” and not a nightclub. The proprietor must operate it as a “bona fide eating place...and must make actual and substantial sales of meals for consumption on the premises."

The eatery will have live entertainment, via a disc jockey, but no patron dancing will be allowed. Marco Polo Cortes appeared at the hearing on behalf of Hanna, emphasizing, “We're a restaurant, not a nightclub,” though “nightclub” is part of the proposed establishment’s name. Hanna said he chose the name to make it sound “edgy.” The restaurant will offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The property is owned by On Broadway SD Partners, LP. Interior construction of Phantom Lounge has already begun. Owners plan to have operating hours of Sunday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.

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Comments
17

You need to have a lawyer own it, and pay the police protection money. Everybody knows that!

Oct. 10, 2013

"Everybody" does? I don't know any such thing. If you have firm evidence of these alleged shakedowns, you need to present it to the District Attorney.

Oct. 11, 2013

This article is darkly humorous.

1014 Fifth Avenue - (Location of club)

The SDPD also said it would be “in the highest crime area and third highest alcohol-related crime area in the city.”

1401 Broadway - (0.6 miles away)

SDPD HQ.

Oct. 11, 2013

"3rd highest alcohol-related crime area...", well duh! There are bars and restaurants that serve alcohol downtown. Not just the Asslamp. Oh, and noise issues? YOU LIVE DOWNTOWN! All those suburbian concerns should've been considered,...ahem,...BEFORE YOU MOVED DOWNTOWN! To quote our ESPN guys, "C'mon Man!"

Oct. 11, 2013

It's interesting how the owner and his lobbyist are playing games with the word "nightclub." It's being used for marketing purposes (per the name of their place), even though legally their establishment will NOT be a nightclub. But "Phantom Lounge and Restaurant" would not have sounded very cool. In order to open an actual nightclub, you need a Type 48 liquor license from the ABC (not a Type 47). I believe the Type 48 is more difficult to obtain, and may cost more to get one through a broker.

Oct. 11, 2013

Why is this even an article? Any time anyone tries to open anything downtown the police and a bunch of dipshit residents complain. If you don't like noise then move out of downtown, especially if you live on the corner of 5th and Broadway. Why isn't there an article about Broadway Lofts complaining about the hundreds of people per night that park in the parking garage where Phantom Lounge is and walk across the street to HOUSE OF BLUES which has concerts every night? How about the fact that the property sits between the trolley line and the bus line which causes problems? I don't see them complaining about the fact that the main route for the fire station down the street is down Broadway, directly past the On Broadway Lofts. Talk about loud!

It's a restaurant and bar just like everything else in the Gaslamp. You cant even get a nightclub license anymore downtown, ever. There are 5 licenses in the whole downtown area that don't require food and they cant be moved from their existing locations.

SDPD is also not telling you that the crime statistics track every type of crime, not just crimes that are a cause for concern. Homeless people pee on the sidewalks down there and when police get called guess what gets reported as a crime? Is the new restaurant going to cause this crime or is it going to help police it by chasing away the bums that hand outside of the vacant space?

Oct. 11, 2013

This is a statement made by the SDPD in their reasons for opposing the use permit: "Recent research by SDPD crime analysis of assaults occurring in the Gaslamp showed that 40% of the assaults in 2012 came from premises with entertainment permits." It was signed by a PD vice sergeant. There was no mention on peeing on sidewalks.

Oct. 11, 2013

RE: "Why isn't there an article about Broadway Lofts complaining about the hundreds of people per night that park in the parking garage..."? Well, you are welcome to write one, although it doesn't make much sense. The parking garage has been there for many years.

Oct. 13, 2013

These owners should be cited for illegal use of the word "entertainment". Phantom lounge is breaking all the rules and making SDPD look stupid by telling them dj nights are private parties...SDPD needs to look at their facebook page or see some of the fliers (which are all over the front curb of my business at midway..now downtown? some of my customers have been inside of one of the phantom lounges and heard nothing but complaints from mister hanna and his staff of not making enough money for the day...scumbagss

Oct. 17, 2013

It seems like you know your business well and doing so you probably should understand that posting a comment like this shows how bias your opinion is. Word of advice- Don't mention that Phantom Lounge is competition and then expect to get anywhere by posting false statements. lol

Oct. 17, 2013

This article is quite humorous and decieving, and for many reasons. I use to be a customer over at the miramar location until the big guy left, and for some reason its never been the same. The place is a zoo and its run by immature guys who prey on young girls till the wee hours of the night, and its disgusting chipped floors and burnt booths full of diseases isnt enjoyable as well. The dj nights are illegal they dont even have entertainment licenses for practically any hookah lounge, especially phantom. On a more relavant note, when the original guys were working there they told me they always lied to SDPD. SDPD and Bruce Getz (Entertainment/Vice) are both idiots who obviously aren't doing their jobs the right way! P.s I live on the lofts right beside the future downtown location so i'll gladly be calling SDPD if i even hear a cricket come from that place.

-"Mr.Labanese"

Oct. 18, 2013

There was no humor nor "decieving" [your spelling] in my article. Maybe you are referring to the comments.

Oct. 19, 2013

And the lobbyist (Marco Polo Cortes) for Phantom Lounge now faces serious federal charges.

Jan. 23, 2014

I went by today, and the windows are still papered over. Not sure what is happening there now.

May 5, 2014

Other people have done bad things! Now you must fill out a lot of paperwork and pay a lot of money to government, or we won't let you open... and the people who have done bad things will just keep on doing bad things!

May 6, 2014

The establishment is now open downtown, but I've never been there). Meanwhile, Cortes is keeping a low profile, awaiting his trial for being connected to the money-laundering scandal involving a now-infamous Mexican multimillionaire.

Aug. 8, 2014

FOX 5 News reported: "A man was caught in crossfire when gunshots erupted outside a nightclub in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, police said Sunday. The shooting was reported to police at 1:43 a.m. as two groups of people were removed from the Phantom Lounge and Nightclub at 1014 5th Avenue due to a verbal confrontation."

This is why the SDPD was opposed to this hookah lounge opening in that location.

Sept. 3, 2017

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