Tomorrow morning, representatives from MSG Investments, owners of the Cashew Bar & Grill at 2000 Grand, will appear before Regulated Industries to appeal the denial of the Cashew's proposed expansion of premises and addition of live entertainment. It comes down to this: The Cashew wants to build a rooftop deck on top of the four-story building; residents in the adjoining six-story condo building at 2004 Grand are opposed to the idea. The original application filed by the Cashew was denied because the owners failed to meet the city's consent ordinance.
Shane Glazer, owner of MSG Investments, says he has already taken one of the most sensitive components off the liquor-license expansion application: "If we build a rooftop deck, we will not serve liquor on that level."
That's not much solace to Hope Dillon, executive chef at Vivilore Restaurant in Independence. She currently lives on the fifth floor of 2004 Grand.
"The Cashew is already a very noisy building before the deck is even open," Dillon says. "And that doesn't include the extra trash that the space will generate and the lack of parking, and it will de-value property values for the people who own condos on that street. It's not a commercial street anymore! It's residential."
Residential, yes. But in a historically urban neighborhood: The 99-year-old building that currently houses the Cashew was built as headquarters for the Fisk Tire Co. In other metropolitan cities, it's not unusual for a mixed-use neighborhood to have residential housing mixed in with restaurants and saloons.
"This isn't just a bar," Dillon says. "The Cashew is a four-story nightclub. In New York City, that kind of nightclub would not be zoned in a residential neighborhood. Small restaurants or bars, yes, but not a four-story nightclub. And it will impact the value of the condominiums in the neighborhood."
Glazer says his long-term plans for the Cashew building are very serious and expensive (he has already installed a new elevator in the structure) and the neighborhood can support an event space on the fourth floor (which was, for several years, Glazer's apartment) and a booze-free deck on the top of the building.
It's that deck that remains a serious sticking point to resolving the conflict between the Cashew and its neighbors,
"The people on the rooftop deck can literally peer into the living rooms of the residents on the fifth floor," says attorney Mike Burke, who is representing the residents of 2004 Grand. "And we've already had one instance where someone attempted to break into a sixth-floor apartment by gaining access from the Cashew's roof."
Both sides claim to have enough signatures from consenting residents in the neighborhood to either overturn the denied application or block Glazer's plans permanently.
Shane Glazer isn't going down quietly. "If we have to take this to circuit court, we will."
Stay tuned for further developments.