Board allows after-hours entertainment at complex

Club in historic building to operate beyond 2 a.m.

October 17, 2001|By Michael Scarcella | By Michael Scarcella,SUN STAFF

The city zoning board voted yesterday to allow the Redwood Trust, a new nightclub downtown, to operate with after-hours entertainment.

The ruling allows Redwood Trust - located in the historic Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Co. building at Calvert and Redwood streets - to operate as a tavern, restaurant and after-hours entertainment complex with live music and dancing.

Owner-operator Nicholas Piscatelli, a local developer, testified before the zoning panel yesterday that the city needs such a venue to fuel tourism in the downtown area and to continue revitalization northward, from the city's waterfront. He added that operating past 2 a.m. is an essential asset to draw top-name music acts.

"We see the demand is there," Piscatelli said before the board, noting a thriving entertainment scene on Market Place. "And we are trying to bring it to Baltimore."

Piscatelli and several investors bought the two-story building, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, for $500,000 last year. After extensive renovations, Piscatelli said he hopes to open the establishment by the end of the month, pending approval of the liquor board.

But Tom Yeager, vice president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, said Piscatelli's plan "is a violation of the law." Yeager argued that such a venue cannot operate after hours unless it is exclusively a restaurant, which the Redwood Trust is not.

Piscatelli said Redwood Trust will function as a coffee bar that will feature outdoor tables during the afternoon and evening. A cigar lounge is also planned.

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