Pratt Park residents, including city council members, say an event center along South Broadway took advantage of a liquor licensing loophole to host loud concerts that ended in gunfire and scatter. .
Building owners and operators say these complaints are exaggerated.
1912 S. Broadway was once a theater and Thrillseekers Climbing Gym opened in 1992, closed in 2018 when the owner retires. Later that year, the 100-year-old building was sold to real estate agent Paul Yaft and attorney Doug Norberg for his $1.6 million.
After a three-year renovation, Yaft and Norberg restored the Art Deco theater and leased it to a local company called Latin Entertainment Group, which operates as an elite event center. Since August, Elite has hosted occasional Latin music parties.
“We had a house right behind this event center and had the luxury of not having an event in that building for probably at least five years,” says Norberg. “Now they’re dealing with cars and traffic and people and music and they don’t like it.”
on Instagram, video show Nightclub atmosphere with dancing, drinking and live music. Neighbors say it comes with screaming, drunken fist fights, and weapons.
“We were woken up by gunshots right outside our window and (neighbors) found seven shells on the street outside our house,” said Pratt Park resident Jay. Hamel remembered Labor Day weekend. “It was about two o’clock in the morning.”
He added: Given the neighborhood’s residential area and the nature of all the children, it’s a bit of a shock.
“Does not pass the smell test”
The entity granted the temporary liquor license for parties at 1912 S. Broadway is neither the Latin Entertainment Group, nor the Elite Event Center, nor the owner of the building.
It is a non-profit school located in Melrose, Florida. no mayor.
4 Corners Community School, a homeschooling cooperative, filed paperwork to operate in Colorado in March of this year. Since then, it has applied for and received several so-called special event permits from Denver’s Excise and Licensing Department. Those are frowned upon at Pratt Park.
The special event permit is designed for charities that want to serve alcohol at their fundraiser or annual reception, said city councilor Joron Clarke, a former board member of the nonprofit.
“Not designed for random schools outside of Florida who are connected to someone who runs a for-profit business and wants to find a loophole in doing things the way they should. said Clark. Representing Pratt Park.
Promotional materials for the party at 1912 S. Broadway make no mention of four corners. When asked why 4 Corners is a licensee, Latin Entertainment Group owner Abel Vargas only said that 4 Corners is “in partnership with the venue.” He sent 4 Corners further questions, but did not respond to several emails and phone calls seeking comment.
“It sounds like they’re trying to regularly program spaces to get permits for special events so they don’t have to go through the process of getting a liquor license. This is a process the community could look into.” ‘ said Clark. “They’re avoiding that whole process.”
Eric Escudero, a spokesman for the Denver Excise and Licensing Department, said he has received complaints from neighbors about parties at 1912 S. Broadway.
“As a result, the city is working with our public safety partner, the Denver Police Department, to investigate issues that may affect the health, safety and welfare of our community,” he said. .
Clark will not issue special event permits for 1912 S. Broadway until he can determine whether 4 Corners is a legitimate non-profit organization and whether the elite event center provides adequate security and cleanup. to the Excise and Licensing Office.
“It didn’t pass the smell test,” he said of the nonprofit. “That’s for sure.”
“We will not tolerate it”
Platt Park residents know how to organize around a common goal of pushing troubled businesses out. Ask them and they’ll tell you about the Habibi Hookah Cafe, which closed last year after neighborhood complaints of rowdy and violence.
“It was a scourge,” recalled resident Andy Melnick, who owns Karadi Coffee. “Every weekend there were people having burnouts, fights, broken glass and gunfights in the streets. And the first party they had at this joint (1912 S. Broadway) had the exact same soundtrack.” was.
The neighborhood email list that was once compiled to moderate complaints about Habibi is now being used to moderate complaints about Elite Event Center. Over 100 people on board. A neighborhood group, the Pratt Park People’s Association, is also working to keep the Elite Events Center quiet, according to President Jennifer Beeson.
Vargas said there were no shootings outside the Elite Events Center despite claims by neighbors. BusinessDen requested documents from DPD about calls he answered, but those documents were not provided by press time.
The property’s owners, Yaft and Norberg, say no one, including city council members, neighborhood associations, and the police department, has told them about safety issues there. They say at least eight security guards and two off-duty DPD officers are working at every party.
“If that had happened, that tenant wouldn’t have been there for so long,” Norberg said. increase.”
The owner admits that trash is a problem outside the theater, but calls it “the nature of the beast” at concerts. They say tenants are hiring more cleaners and setting up a hotline that neighbors can call to remove trash from their yards.
“We became aware of the garbage problem on September 4th and had cleaners clean up the neighborhood on September 5th,” Vargas said. “We plan to limit parking in the neighborhood with signs and additional traffic control personnel. We have also hired cleaners to clean up during and after the event.”
As Yaft and Norberg see, they restored a historic theater that had fallen into disrepair and was an eyesore. Norberg leased it to a company that hosts coming-of-age ceremonies and the occasional weekend party. .”
“The music isn’t that loud there,” said Norberg, who lives nearby. “I went to two shows myself to make sure security was in place, it was done properly and everything seemed professional and responsibly run. ”
Residents like Melnick say they have no problem with quinceaneras and other family events. Loud and dangerous late nights plague them and their families.
“This whole concept of a rental party space is fraught with danger,” Melnick said.