Troubled Minneapolis nightclub to become event center

  • Article by: JANET MOORE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 26, 2013 - 9:35 PM

Kam Talebi plans to turn a troubled property into a special space.

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The former Trocaderos nightclub is under contract to be sold to Kam Talebi of the Crave restaurant empire, to become a space for private and corporate parties.

Photo: JEFF WHEELER , Star Tribune

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Between 2005 and 2009, some residents of Minneapolis’ North Loop were painfully aware of the building at 107 3rd Av. N.

Home to the Trocaderos nightclub, the property appeared to be a magnet for noise complaints and other forms of unruliness, some say — an uneasy presence in an emerging urban neighborhood. After the club closed in 2009, the space remained empty.

This week, Twin Cities-based restaurant scion Kam Talebi confirmed that he and his partners at Kaskaid Hospitality have reached an agreement to purchase the property, part of which dates back to 1889.

Kaskaid, the $60 million parent company to Crave, Figlio, Urban Eatery and Union restaurants, plans to convert the 23,000-square-foot space into the Muse Event Center. The multilevel structure will play host to corporate and private events, such as bar and bat mitzvahs, nonprofit galas and weddings.

“There’s a tremendous demand for event space,” Talebi said. “And the North Loop location was a perfect fit.”

David Frank, president of the North Loop Neighborhood Association, said he’s pleased that the building will have a new owner. “We’d like to see an active use for a building that is now just sitting there,” he said.

But he noted Trocaderos wasn’t a good fit. “We never stopped getting complaints about music, loud and unruly customers,” he said.

Last year, Duluth brewpub Fitger’s said it was interested in buying the space, but it later scaled back on expansion plans.

Talebi said he will be contacting neighborhood groups and city officials in coming weeks with details of his plans for the former nightclub. “We are bringing a totally different profile to the neighborhood,” he said.

He declined to quantify a purchase price, but expects the event center to open this fall. Hennepin County records indicate the property is owned by First Resource Bank of Savage and has a market value of $1.3 million, although those figures tend to skew low.

The site will also serve as home base for Crave’s growing catering division. Crave, which features fresh, casual fare, has eight locations, four in Minnesota: Mall of America, Galleria in Edina, St. Louis Park’s West End and downtown Minneapolis.

Another Crave on tap

However, that list is expanding — Kaskaid also announced this week that Crave will open a ninth location in Austin, Texas, near the city’s busy convention center. While Crave currently has sites in Nebraska, Ohio and Florida, this will be Kaskaid’s first foray into the Lone Star state.

The Austin market “is absolutely on fire,” Talebi said, noting further expansion in Texas is a distinct possibility.

Closer to home, Talebi said Kaskaid will lease the Old Chicago space at 2841 Hennepin Av. S. in Uptown. It’s unclear at this point what the concept of the new restaurant will be, but the site will include an outdoor patio — a signature feature at many Kaskaid sites.

Talebi says there’s a “niche to be filled” in the Uptown casual dining scene. The new restaurant — whatever it may be — is slated to open by March 2014.

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