City closes Simon's over work being done without permit

Published: Friday, February 15, 2013 at 6:28 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 15, 2013 at 6:28 p.m.

Simon’s Nightclub remains closed for a second weekend after the city shut the business down for doing construction without a permit.

Ryan Prodesky, vice president of marketing for 101 Management Group, which owns the dance club, said work was almost complete to widen a doorway in the back of the club at 8 S. Main St.

The city building department and fire marshal stopped the work and shut the business down on Feb. 6.

Fire Marshal Joanne Rice of Gainesville Fire Rescue said Simon’s opened up a firewall and took out an ADA-compliant bathroom.

She said the work changed how the fire alarm system and sprinkler system work together.

Rice said the city wants to make sure it avoids a situation like the nightclub fire in Brazil that killed more than 230 people in January.

Simon’s submitted plans to the city about the time the business was shut down and is awaiting approval, Prodesky said. He said once they have approval, the work should be finished within a couple of days.

He expressed frustration in having to wait for approval while the business remains closed. Simon’s employed 45 people, some of whom have been sent to other 101 businesses, “but we’ve already lost some valuable people due to this,” he said.

“We feel like we’re pulling teeth to get these permits.”

Rice said a lot of different people have done construction in the building over several years so inspectors want to make sure the building is structurally sound and fire-safe.

She said in addition to reviewing plans, they will have to inspect what has been done.

“The problem is they did work that wasn’t permitted, so we don’t know what was done,” Rice said.

101 Management also owns 101 Downtown, 101 Cantina, Cellar 12 and Gainesville Catering. The company opened Simon’s as an electronic music dance and bottle service club in August 2012 at at 8 S. Main St., the site of the original Simon’s, which was popular as a rave club in the 1990s.

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