Fargo nightclub liquor license sale gets conditional approval

The owner of the building, 518 Properties, owned by Tyler Brandt, aims to take over operations with an agreement to purchase the license from the club’s former owners.

Commissioners had previously revoked the license due to public safety concerns, including the shooting death of a club bouncer in a nearby parking lot in May.

518 Properties representative Dan Hicks said a management team was not yet in place. The plans call for keeping the same business concept.

“We think it’s an underserved area in the metro,” he said.

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The Fargo Liquor Control Board unanimously approved the conditional plan before forwarding it to the City Board.

The conditional clause was encouraging for Commissioner Dave Piepkorn, who also sits on the liquor board.

“I think it’s a good company, and with good ownership and management it’s a good addition to the community,” said Piepkorn. “But I think it’s very important that we know who the manager is… because I think it’s essential for future safety and success.”

Others questioned the lack of a comprehensive management plan.

“We have had (applicants for) liquor licenses presented to us in the past who wanted a liquor license, but we turned them down because they didn’t have a plan of the facility,” said Commissioner Tony Gehrig. “So we are bending over backwards for this… We shouldn’t be voting on this just yet.”

Commissioner John Strand noted that the contingency given to 518 properties matched the reason the commission did not allow the original owners to retain the liquor license.

“They didn’t have a leadership. They didn’t have a plan,” he said. “But now we’re back to square one. We have another candidate who doesn’t have a plan and doesn’t have a manager.”

Strand also said both parties to the liquor licensing deal had run-ins with the police over their files. However, Corey Schultz, the former license owner, has had a more recent and negative interaction with the police, Piepkorn said.

Police chief David Zibolski echoed Piepkorn and added that the charges against the new director several years ago have been dropped.

“An arrest probably should not even have been made in this case,” he said.

After a lengthy discussion, Commissioners approved the conditional sale by a 3-2 vote with Commissioner Arlette Preston, Mayor Tim Mahoney and Piepkorn in favor. Strand and Gehrig voted against approval.

Once the management team is in place and the business concept is firm, the beverage license transfer will come back to the Liquor Control Board and Municipal Commission for final approval.

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Richard Dement

The author Richard Dement