BDC moves to buy club

Charles St. bar, nightspot focus of complaints

Site seen as revitalization link

City development agency to have appraisal done

November 25, 2003|By Sara Neufeld | Sara Neufeld,SUN STAFF

Responding to complaints about a bar and nightclub at North Charles Street and North Avenue, the Baltimore Development Corp. is taking a preliminary step to buy the establishments.

The city's economic development agency has hired a contractor to appraise Club Choices and Trip's Place, both in the 1800 block of N. Charles St., at the request of the establishments' owner, Anthony D. Triplin, said Paul Dombrowski, the BDC's planning and design team director.

If the appraiser comes back with a price tag acceptable to Triplin, the BDC will try to find funding to buy the property, Dombrowski said.

In August, The Sun reported that crowds lingering outside the establishments until dawn on the weekends bring noise, traffic, trash and crime, and undermine redevelopment goals in the city's fledgling arts and entertainment district.

"The fact that we have heard complaints about the property would make us look toward alleviating that kind of a situation," Dombrowski said.

Through an attorney, Triplin declined to comment.

Choices, which has strip shows twice a week, is one of three clubs in the city with licenses to stay open all night.

Although it cannot sell liquor or allow patrons to bring their own, it is connected by a door to Trip's Place, which serves drinks until 2 a.m.

Dombrowski said the property has potential as the city looks to redevelop the Charles-North intersection.

A proposal for the city to acquire and redevelop more than 20 commercial properties there, not including the bar and nightclub, is awaiting a City Council hearing.

"We're very excited about the discussions between BDC and Club Choices about the purchase of the property," said J. Kirby Fowler Jr., chairman of Mayor Martin O'Malley's Advisory Board for the Station North Arts and Entertainment District.

"The Club Choices property is a missing link in the city's plan for the revitalization of Charles and North, which is the crossroads of the city." Dombrowski said the appraisal is expected within a month.

In another development, Triplin asked a Circuit Court judge last week to issue a stay so he can appeal a liquor board ruling.

The board fined him $800 last month and required him to close the door and any other passageways connecting the bar and the club.

The judge, John Miller, ruled yesterday that Triplin must pay the fine immediately but may postpone construction during an appeal.

The liquor board found Triplin guilty of illegally locking exit doors and illegal drinking.

It also ordered Triplin to start closing Trip's Place, not just shutting the bar, at 2 a.m., the mandatory closing time for city bars.

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