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Cedars Lounge to close; new building owner is forcing the issue

Published: Fri, December 7, 2012 @ 9:38 p.m.

Cedars Lounge, the legendary rock’n’roll bar with a reputation that extends beyond the region, is being forced out of the location where it’s been for 37 years.

The new owner of the Gallagher Building, which houses Cedars, said Friday that the bar will not be permitted to stay.

“Cedars will not stay there,” said Dominic Gatta III. “With all the upgrades [it needs], including a new stairwell, new sanitary, bringing the building up to code and everything else, it does not fit my vision for the building.”

For more on this story, see Saturday’s Vindicator or Vindy.com.


1drpautot(70 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

WTF! Blondie, The Ramones, All the great bands of that genre played in a little dive bar, called CBGB's , and Cedars was modeled after it. Tommy Simon Made that happen, and now a mainstay of the areas rock and roll history will be lost. Does anyone recall Tony's Hideaway lounge? What about Legends? if i remember right, Accept played there once. Art Can't die in this town!

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2DangerousPerson(1 comment)posted 3 years, 7 months ago


Youngstown Cardio-ectomy

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3LoveWins(35 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Cedar's is honestly one of Youngstown's best assets. How could you close Cedar's? This is truly upsetting.
They still book legendary shows that attract people from different cities. Attracting people from different cities is one of the best ways to promote Youngstown. Cedar's has a great reputation as a venue. This is a shame.

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4endthismess(464 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Ppl, when was the last time you were there? Get over it. No one said they can't open elsewhere. The family was tired of running this place. After awhile things and ppl get old and simply want to move on.

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5LoveWins(35 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

I was there two weeks ago. Cedars is doing well. There are still frequently great out of town acts, and it is packed on the weekends and is packed on wednesdays during swing night. If they wanted to move on, do you think they would be willing to go and that this guy didn't have to "force the issue?"

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6kurtw(1823 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

I was in Cedars once or twice and, actually, I thought the place was kind of depressing. I don't know- I guess many people think, the rundown, the dark, gloomy sorts of places like Cedars are Hip- I don't happen to be one of them. I won't lose any sleep over their departure. Maybe, the new people will put in a McDonalds- that would piss the Liberals Off Royally! (And then I would sleep soundly!)

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7LoveWins(35 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Yep, because closing a family-owned business that's been around for almost 40 years to replace it with a Mcdonald's is the Republican thing to do!

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8kurtw(1823 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

The comment I made about putting in a Mcdonalds was tongue in cheek and more or less off the top of my head.

Actually, I think a Wendy's would be better- they have superior food!

(As for being a jerk- well what can I say- we can't all be perfect!)

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9bmanresident(607 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

First off, LOVE WINS, swing night is on Thursdays and not Wednesdays. Anyhow, that place is a dinghy grimy bar that needs to go. I would personally like to see a nicer looking establishment at the building or housing. How much better off would downtown be.

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10kurtw(1823 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Above comment says it all. I wasn't really serious about Wendy's or McDonalds, just joking, but the Cedar's isn't anything to mourn or feel nostalgic about- Hey, Woodstock was a long time ago, time to move on!

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11bridgetg_13(3 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Say what you want about Cedar's, but it was hands down the best bar in Youngstown. Very sad to see it go.

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12isaac45(412 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago


that's what i do have to respect about conservatives, they don't whine, they take responsibility for their actions when things don't go their way....wait a second?

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13whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago


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14whyyt(18 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Amazing. And yet the city will fund a downtown "martini bar" (um, what year is it?) with $20K, and fully demolish the Paramount theater. And the backwards nature of Youngstown continues in grand fashion! Let all the cheesy bars continue with their meathead clientele, and utter lack of any sense of interior aesthetics. Someone get a clue in that city, please. It is maddening. Let's drill! Let's have cheesy bars! Let's demolish fine architecture! Let's have another athletic facility at YSU! Take a look at the world and learn something Youngstown. It is harder and harder to have any pride in a town that is being ruined so deeply with every minute.

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15rjherald(1 comment)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

it's a natural process. it's life. the evolution of a business is much like that of life...you live and you die. we all made it through the death of the nyabinghi. you will always be able to say, "remember that time we saw {insert awesome band} at cedars?!" instead of the heckling, maybe you should be thanking cedars for the great run and interesting memories.

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16whyyt(18 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

I get what the last commenter said about a natural process, and it's true. But when you see the quality going from bad to worse downtown, you have to be worked up. Cedars was the true anchor and originator of any bar renaissance downtown. How about all the years folks went to Cedars when NOTHING else was there, nor did others care--and dolts would respond "What? You're going downtown?," like it was weird to do that (go Youngstown mentality). Cedars was around before all the others (truly awful, mundane bars) glommed on to the idea of downtown. And with this, any sense of taste in Youngstown is officially flushed. It's not like good places are coming into being downtown, they're all cheesy dumps with trashy clientele, and no taste whatsoever about the world at large. Wake the F up.

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17LoveWins(35 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

The thing is, Cedars isn't dead yet, and they weren't even close to being ready for that. The building was impossible for them to fix (financially), but this guy has the money and the tax abatements. Cedars is a bar, not a construction company. They were still bringing in a lot more money than most other bars in this town, just not enough to overhaul the building. The guy tells them the bar can stay then changes his mind once all of the papers are signed? Cool.

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18esteethomas(2 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

this is not the full story cedars is NOT closing the are being evicted & intend to move not close

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19GnomeMad(22 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

I, for one, will be sad to see Cedars go. I've been going there regularly since the early 80's and have seen some of the best damn bands there over the years.

Those of you who think it's too "grimy" or "dirty" or "run-down" for your tastes, stay the hell in Boardman/Canfield and go have fun at Applebee's or some other generic chain restaurant that caters to your "refined" tastes and sensibilities. Bars like the Cedars are not intended to appeal to people like you. Just like places you frequent don't appeal to people like me. To each his own.

I hope Cedars relocates instead of shutting down completely. It would be sad indeed to lose one of the few remaining live music venues in the area -- especially one with so much history that attracts such great bands.

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20saberjones(1 comment)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

I love when right wing republicans who can't come up with any better argument start playing the "socialist government" card. Please. You don't even know what socialism is, let alone realize you don't live in one.

The real issue here seems to be that Dominic Gatta has a stake in V2 and wants to lessen competition for that awful, noisy and rude establishment. He can't do anything else, so he'll buy the building and convert it over to more over priced apartments no one wants to live in. Because the more you remove places like Cedars from the downtown landscape, the less appealing (if that's even possible) living downtown becomes.

Art and music are two things that the city and developers don't care about because in Youngstown they don't make money. It's hard enough to make money in Youngstown without attaching yourself to either of those things. For as much as I love Cedars, those two things can't compete. It's how it's done downtown.

Youngstown will always be where I'm from, but I'll never come back downtown again once they close Cedars. Nothing has character and you can't count the Draught House because most people don't like drinking and dancing with the derelicts that are always around that place. It's a homeless shelter with booze. Cedars always kept safe and fun. I never felt worried in Cedars. It was a safe harbor downtown and now there will be nothing. Good luck Billy! I hope you land on your feet.

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21author50(1121 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Cedars has purchased the old Coconut Grove and will be reopening under the new name 'Cedars at the Grove' sometime next year.

No tax abatements, federal stimulus dollars, waiver of fees, low interest loan and or grant from the city of Youngstown was used in making this deal happen.

Most of the posters are correct about buildings, bars, businesses in the NEW downtown... without taxpayers footing the bill they would have never opened or couldn't stay open.

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22author50(1121 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

on the town

(tongue in cheek) was being used.

If the taxpayers in the city of Youngstown cared, they would know about the millions of wasted monies in bars, buildings and businesses that couldn't stand on their own without tax money (Cedars did as you have correctly pointed out). That money would be better spent on roads, cops, jails, schools, firefighters, etc.

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23DrGoo(297 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Lol "Cedars at the Grove" sounds like the product of a game of telephone.

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24author50(1121 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

It does have a nice RING to it DrGoo!

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25Tigerlily(509 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

I think people are seriously mistaken that Cedars somehow only catered to Youngstowners. Many people from the suburbs went there as well. So this isn't really a burbs/city argument. It's more about a large group of people from both the city and the burbs that are losing the place they call home because someone wants to open an upscale burger joint. He can do that, but people are allowed to complain and mourn as well. However loudly they want.

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26Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

To BAD it lest it was safer then Boardman at night .

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27MrYikes(14 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

I hope they replace it with an Italian restaurant. Something like Olive Garden, but with sports memorabilia. That would be original.

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28whyyt(18 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Cedars was known outside of Youngstown. To dismiss it as a dump is to not have a clue about what it really means, or meant in the role of downtown. Larger question: Why is the city granting that martini joint on Federal $20K--they have a unique old building--but will they preserve the architecture and bring about good design/taste, that is highly doubtful. It is Austintown East--that is the most apt description of what downtown has become. It had style in its day, ages ago, and all that is vanishing rapidly. The demo of the theater, this new (I'm sure it'll be what Youngstown deems as classy, ie: flashy trashy) redo of the Gallagher (Cedars) Building and the $20K to martini centrale all seems a bit shady... Youngstown is poor, sure--but there is some money out there, I mean, where are the Yorks, Cafaros, Covellis, etc.--Youngstowners with the means to save the theater facade and create a fine, open public space for the city to take some real pride? You know, there was a time when folks with money did things for civic improvement. There's a reason the Wick name is all over town. Let's see a new era of that. And, long live Cedars. Let's hope they have Cedars II downtown, so that there is at least one good bar there!

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29smlnorge(1 comment)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Is nothing sacred? I've been going to Cedar's for just about 20 years. It's been a staple for the sort of underground college scene for longer than that i imagine; for the musicians and artists that manange to hang on in a town that's fallen apart, Cedar's is THE coolest place anywhere close. For the 'in' crowd there; that place means something to us. It's the complete opposite of your typical crappy, dime a dozen sports bar. I can't tell you how many truly good bands i've seen there and many good nights i've had there. This is truly a shame. Yeah, it may reopen somewhere else, i don't know, but it'll never be the same. This place is one of the very few bright spots in Youngstown, Truly a shame that the new owner doesn't have the vision to understand this.

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30madgedoe85(1 comment)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

As someone from Poland who could NEVER relate to anyone in my Thomas Kinkade painting of a boring town, I went to Cedars to escape. Growing up in the suburbs, I wanted more culture and places like Cedars provided me that. We've become a disposable society and find it easy to throw away our past along with things that have meant a lot to us. We instead "substitute" these things with commercial equivalents of McMansions. Where I formerly went to Cedars to escape my suburban existence, I now feel like I should just stay at home.

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31YanniBGood(12 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

To not mourn the passing of Cedars is to never have been there. Some enjoy the predictability of the chains while others prefer the less predictability of the unchained. The closing of any venue that promotes & encourages creativity and provides a funky atmosphere of character for characters only furthers the sterilization of a community.

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32grog8797(25 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

I was at Cedars Friday night and had a great time. I have been going there since the '80's. I go only a handful of times a year now. I'll miss it. It is a special place, but won't shed any tears. All things must pass. The building was underutilized so naturally the family could not afford the upkeep with only the bar making money in an otherwise empty building. As another poster pointed out, it would have been forced to close in a few years anyway due to maintenance issues. I believe it. Now with the sale of the building they no longer facing the massive repair bills or building closure that probably would have ended Cedars forever. Maybe they can relocate to another space downtown; that would be the only way to maintain the integrity of what Cedars was all about.

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33Silence_Dogood(1677 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

You can all go to the Lemon Grove. Just be warned Bob Hagen will be standing by the door, blocking the customers, listening to some old timer singing a very bad rendition of John Lennon's "working class hero". And the really sad thing is that in Hagen's mind he is singing about him. In fact I am convinced that Hagen thinks Lennon wrote the song about him by the way he struts like a peacock when this song is sung.

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34Silence_Dogood(1677 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

I miss starting the night off at the Avalon and ending it with a good band at the Cedars.

I miss the known threat of the Soviets, we knew how to deal with them.

I miss the old Mahoning Avenue, the one that looked clean and safe.

I miss the orange Mahoning River, it represented employment for all who wanted to work.

I miss Christmas shopping at all the stores downtown as a kid.

I miss seeing the "robot" as you drove up Market Street from downtown.

I miss , I miss , I miss etc.....

Time marches on, there is no stoping it. Just like the Gallagher Liquor store was missed by many people, so will the Cedars.For those that are crying that the place was a dump and should have been closed or torn down, I think you missed the point of the place, it was ALL about the music, everything else didn't matter.

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35Werecat(75 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

I hope that Cedars manages to relocate, stay open and not lose that special something that made it Cedars. A great rock and roll bar is an absolute necessity in any college town.

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36whyyt(18 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

I'm hoping that the Cedars at the Grove is in fact the rumor it so far seems to be. If Cedars reopens, and it should, it should be downtown--but please pick the right old building and don't go muddling it up with all the trappings of blandness that the other bars downtown have--there are strip malls in the 'burbs, so leave them there. A new Cedars downtown should be a model, and continue the bar's tradition.

The whole connectedness of this developer and city gov't is just so shady--why doesn't this paper or local TV do a proper investigative story? Also--there's someone actually in charge of events for the city of Youngstown? That is the biggest joke ever. Can someone with taste and brains please step in here already?

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37walter_sobchak(2721 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

It would seem to me that the B&O restaurant would be a good location for Cedars to relocate. Plenty of floor space for patrons to listen to the music, good beer by the building owner on tap, good parking. This would appear to be a good deal for both entities.

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38kurtw(1823 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Actually, South America has a lot of places just like Cedars: old building, not so good on fire safety, bring in the people, lots of music- good music, good vibes, everybody happy... then fire breaks out... vibes change... not so good.

I'm glad somebody has the building, who, hopefully will fix it up, and make it into something more than a rest home for aging hippies and a general fire trap. (I was in that place a few times and I found myself thinking I was in kind of time-warp- any minute I expected to see Richard Nixon and George McGovern debating each other.)

Hey, how about a Wendy's!

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39georgejeanie(1533 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Eventually all these "upscale apartments" will be the new section 8 housing for the under performers of society, getting that last government handout until their dying day. No private employers other that these government subsidized bars, wow!what a way to bring this city back. Never going to happen, too far gone. Same government hacks as when I left 10 years ago. Sammarone, Wellington, Gains, Hagan. How can you expect change when the some bs goes on year after year.

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40pjohn(25 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

It's not that hard to understand. If the building isn't in good shape, fix it. Centralized focused development is better than building a new bar or restaurant on the commercial strips of south ave/market st. People like being able to eat somewhere, walk to one bar, grab a drink, walk to another etc. Try doing that on 224. The only character we have is downtown. Stop going to the suburbs and support the downtown.

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41IslandMike(764 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

WOW! Cedar's is rumored to be moving from downtown to South Avenue. South Avenue is like a third world country. At least move to Market Street. LMAO!

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42uselesseater(229 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Cedars on the South Side? Forget about that bad idea. That won't work. What a shame. It somehow though idyllically could be a spark to bebuild the Southside. It's been a solid 30 years of being way decayed down there.

All of Downtown is nothing more than one big dirty deal after another.

Just let YSU annex downtown... At least education welfare produces some productive graduates.

Private interest welfare like most of the developers of New Downtown receive yields what? Rich owners who drive home to their posh suburban castles. What else?

Just look at V2 and that insanity:

chopped lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and gorgonzola
cheese tossed in our special dressing

with chili and hot peppers

Who in the world is going to pay $8 for a salad and $6.50 for a damn hot dog?

What else do we have? Crazy high apartment rentals. Whoopie!

Consider me ignorant and uninformed, but I thought when public monies were used in housing projects that they need to include housing for all economic groups? That includes the poor and working folks.

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43uselesseater(229 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

You @Sparky are a fool.

$8 salads aren't some normal thing. Not sure if you are eating at a country club or what.

What V2 serves as an $8 salad isn't some exotic filing meal. It's a pedestrian salad. It isn't certified organic or anything.

Ditto for the hot dog.

As for your redirection to Westlake Crossing, I don't agree with luxury for anyone. I don't agree either with government being in the public housing industry directly or pseudo directly.

My point and it remains is public monies are used, then things by law should and probably are mandated to address all citizens not one group like just whites, or just high income.

What you establish with your Westlake pointing is that it is fine to segregate people based on income. Put the poor folks over there and put our uppity selves over here. Welcome back to segregation, 1950's style, now with more public welfare for everyone.

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44uselesseater(229 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

I am shallow for pointing the the gouging and segregation welfare policies? English isn't your gift.

I've owner a restaurant in the past. I know what food costs, even today fool.

$8 for a standard side salad equivalent is a joke, especially in Downtown Youngstown. V2 is no fine dining establishment.

I agree with luxuries, have all you can afford and have earned. Just don't misappropriate tax payer monies for private projects and do private enrichment deals in the back alley.

You are the idiot pointing to the housing porkjects over there and saying look we give them freebies too. I want to know why there isn't any mixed income housing Downtown with public dishing cash into these projects. It's a fair question.

I can afford all the salad I want dumbo, I own a farm.

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45uselesseater(229 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

:) Yeah that was an English blister I did there :) Too bad the Vindy doesn't have an edit function. Been needed and wanted by contributors for eons.

I'll slow down, the tiny box they afford for comments is part of the problem.

Lemon Grove is the ultimate shady deal. It's stereotypical Downtown and government doing dirty business deals. I've jumped on them in the past. Including outing their Hagan relationship and his daughter working there, blah blah.

I didn't bring Lemon Grove and the monkey in charge Harver up in this thread since we've been up and down his case before. But since you mentioned it, find it funny Harver has a freaking "Choir" at Lemon Grove:


Surely, no God fearing church going folks are playing choir there. Does the choir sing during the DRAG shows?

That's the kind of liberal cesspool crap you idealists have mixed up in your Boardman NorthCentral posh island oasis.

We can fund that insanity (Harver), but have no place for Cedars. Sure, that makes sense. Just like Lemon Grove claiming it isn't a drinking joint, but on their own website the only menu they have is one for alcohol (beer).

Calling me the 99% is funny. I don't pick sides. I jump on dirtbags equally. I don't care what your affiliation or agenda is. If Harver wants to be anarchist central then he shouldn't be receiving one red cent. Just like a commie pinko scum bag though. Harver doesn't have balls he has dirty political connections, obviously. He's been busy shafting everyone and still walks around freely. But, he's free in this country to promote whatever, even if it's a contradiction.

None of these projects should be receiving anything, aside from maybe property tax breaks or payroll tax breaks. All based on inputs on their end and just reductions. Definitely never should be investing tax monies in restaurants and bars.

Government should aid in matching land owners with tenants and fostering opportunities. That is it.

Just look at the audit of Federal Place and the call center. "Stimulus" money mismanaged. Go figure, there are hundreds to thousands of current problems with that heap of cash nationally.

Wait until the entire theater raising gets figured out... Millions wasted.

Feel free to have your $30 lunch at V2, a salad + hotdog = $14.50 + a side + drink + tip. Sorry, that's not really a business model. It won't work and I told you so.

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46uselesseater(229 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Glad we can meet halfway @Sparky :)

How much for a soup and salad combo at V2? Maybe they are busy pushing specials and ignoring the sticker shock on some of these items. I hope so. Full rate on those salads and hot dogs are insanity. I pay that sort of price for a premium salad at a place like Flaming Ice Cube that has "cleaner" ingredients. The of course bundle discount things like that often.

It's a shame I think what Downtown was recently and what it is becoming. The place needs more funk, more art, more authenticity. Downtown main restaurant area should promote closed street carnival style nights when the weather gets warmer. Vendors and entertainment outside and theme. Works well in other cities and become a destination. That's the only way Downtown businesses like these will survive.

The Italian Cafe niche has been done 100000 times. Unless the chef is insanely talented or the menu is something very different, it is a hard sell. Mainly since staple Italian is cheap and fairly easy / common to people today.

Hagan apparently is a pot head, along with being a drinker. Most commies are pro drugs as simply face value, drugs do lots of destruction. Anything that destroys they tend to like.

But, I think we really should stop criminalizing drugs, drain the cash out of the subculture and make said things available at drugstores. We prescribe far worse than pot to folks. Plus it creates new tax streams. Any wonder why Colorado and Washington legalized them? There's your answer :)

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47city_resident(528 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

What tax money was used to renovate the Federal Building, the Gallagher Building, the Erie Terminal Building, etc.? I know the developers might have gotten state historic preservation tax credits for the Federal Building and Erie Terminal, and possibly discounted or waived fees, and I know the developer of the Realty Building got a $4 million loan from the city, in addition to a state historic tax credit, but I'm not sure of anything else. Please enlighten me.

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48uselesseater(229 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

I am unsure if there is any definitive resource on the funding behind these projects. I doubt those involved want all that info in one easy to find and see place.

I welcome folks to research the properties and deals themselves and realize plenty "off the books" that won't be available to public eyes. Many of the properties have been swapped, refied, put in different structures,etc.

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49city_resident(528 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Since you're one of the people claiming wrong-doing, maybe you should do the research?

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50Askmeificare(1229 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago


Cedars is being forced to close?

What $@%$##*& *@(@%@ little spined *@%#@!)#)#&@% low life (@*@%#(#^@%@* maggot faced **@&^@&@*@*@ non loving violent influenced low IQ *@%@$&*(^@6 jack*@& decided this?

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51uselesseater(229 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

What are you @city_resident? A recent transplant to this region or something?

It's almost a game of tell me one project where public monies went that actually had longevity and success. There aren't many of those. Rampant corruption and precisely why public monies shouldn't even be an option.

Ytown is one continuous mismanaged criminal misdoing by white collar lawyers and government slouches after another.

Weren't folks buying Kool-Aid and salivating over those minimum wage VXI jobs last year? Now look, another scandal with dozens of issues with the stimulus funding.

Just wait until the other similarly funded local projects get an extra set of eyes looking at the cooked books.

Yeah, developers can do whatever they want, when and if they self fund a project and don't engage in above board tax payer funded freebies and don't have secret handshake deals in the background.

For the textbook example, just look at Lemon Grove and the former inhabitant of the same building, the shell company, the common owner, Hagan, hand out money, SBA loans and unpaid fools in government all over the place.

Any other place, if a corporation was insolvent and in debit their collateral (i.e. real estate would be liened) and such lien would stay affixed until repayment happened or property was forced sold.

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52city_resident(528 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

All that, and you still haven't really said anything, uselesseater; just a lot of speculation of corruption, cooked books, and back room deals. It's almost like paranoia around here; anytime something happens, and some don't understand why or don't like the outcome, they jump to the conclusion that corruption is involved. (not that I don't understand where this attitude comes from, but it still gets tiring)

I'm not a fan of the caliber of some of the VXI employees, but I'm not aware of any scandal. If you're referring to the Vindy article about the audit of the city, the other day, that looks like an oversight, to me, and we'll see if anything comes of it.

As for Rosetta Stone, and one of the owner's connection with the Lemon Grove, I won't comment because I'm uncomfortable with that connection, and don't know the whole story.

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