hand," Raven said. "I can certainly say I am very glad to have the
process over and I am really looking forward to completing the
Raven met Thursday with building department officials and has the
go-ahead to begin construction, with a few minor details that still
need to be ironed out, said Burt Morgan, the city's chief plans
examiner. Those details will have to be finished before Raven can
open his doors to the public, Morgan said.
"Work can begin, but not all aspects of the requirements for
construction are completed yet," Morgan said.
The permits come six months and thousands of design dollars after
initial approval by the Planning Commission. City Manager Allan
Roeder said an agreement was finally reached after carefully
balancing safety concerns and feasible project designs.
Roeder said there was a "disconnect between staff and the
applicant" as to where the safety exits should be. Roeder stepped in
and encouraged the two parties to find some common ground.
"We sat down and stayed at it until we could come to some sort of
agreement," Roeder said.
The compromise: One exit was moved about 20 feet, adding about
$100,000 to building costs.
The upscale nightclub, designed for professionals between 25 and
40, was approved by the Planning Commission in November despite city
planners' concerns about parking, noise and overall concentration of
various nightlife hotspots in the area.
Within a mile radius of the Vegas nightclub -- in the basement
level of the Spanish style 1901 Newport -- is the ever popular Yard
House restaurant, the Helm bar, Goat Hill Tavern, Players, Tony's
Place, Skosh Monahan's and Detroit nightclub. Farther away on 17th
Street are the Little Knight, Pierce Street Annex, Chester Drawers
and La Cave.
In earlier hearings, Raven distinguished club Vegas by saying it
was not designed for the younger, rowdier "MTV crowd." The
11,000-square-foot club will have an elite guest list, a cover charge
and excellent security. The club will not play hip-hop music.
While staffers saw the nearby entertainment venues as a
disadvantage, planning commissioners and City Council members said
the new club adds to the downtown synergy. Many officials are looking
to club Vegas -- another enterprises planned for 1901 Newport,
including condominiums -- to revitalize the downtown area.
Club Vegas is designed to entertain about 800 people from 5 p.m.
to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday
Raven said he anticipates a grand opening by September.
"The bottom line is that I am content with the final plan and I
look forward to bringing the best nightlife in Orange County to Costa
Mesa," he said.
* LOLITA HARPER writes columns Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and
covers culture and the arts. She may be reached at (949) 574-4275 or
by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.