One of Providence's largest clubs will soon be reopening under new ownership in the Jewelry District, despite opposition from Brown.
The city's Board of Licenses approved the transfer of the liquor license for the venue formerly housing The Complex, a club that closed earlier this year, to new owner Anthony Santurri. With the board's signoff, Santurri plans to open the doors of the totally reinvented establishment, now dubbed The Colosseum, by the beginning of November, he said.
At the board's hearing last week, a number of groups expressed concern about how the reopening of the club would affect the surrounding area. Al Dahlberg, the University's director of state and community relations, testified and delivered a letter to the board from Marisa Quinn, vice president of public affairs and University relations.
The University opposes reopening the nearly 1,400 person establishment because it will increase alcohol consumption for students in the area and attract patrons from other parts of the state that stop serving alcohol earlier, Dahlberg said. The club is also likely to contribute to a rise in disorderly conduct such as noise and bad behavior, he added.
"With the movement of the medical education building to the Jewelry District, Brown is focusing even more on quality of life and neighborhood issues in the area," Dahlberg said.
Though Brown has opposed the granting of liquor licenses to some Thayer Street establishments, administrators will have to decide whether they will continue to fight similar battles in the Jewelry District, Dahlberg said.
But Santurri said he believes he will be able to keep things under control and address residents' concerns. "I will be there every night standing at the front door," Santurri said. "I will refuse entrance to anyone that I think will cause trouble."
A point of contention for many residents opposed to the club's reopening was whether patrons between 18 and 20 years old should be allowed in, Santurri said. Though he plans to only host a 21-and-over crowd on Friday and Saturday nights, he may admit younger patrons on Thursdays, he said. Other clubs in the area are open to 18-year-olds so they will find somewhere else to go if they are barred from entering his club, he added.
"I just didn't want that restriction imposed on me arbitrarily," Santurri said. "It's not fair to do that to me."
Santurri would prefer that his club appeal to older clientele but is concerned that the lack of parking in the area will make it too difficult, he said. "People who don't go out every night like the young kids ... won't go if they can't park," he said.