With more than $325,000 in rent allegedly overdue, the 400 Bar has been given its walking papers from the Mall of America even before it could get off the ground.
The former mainstay of Minneapolis’ West Bank music scene, which closed its doors in December 2012, was to reopen this summer along with a new Midwest Music Museum in a sprawling, 25,000-square-foot space on the Bloomington megamall’s nightlife-oriented fourth floor.
As of Wednesday, though, an eviction notice was taped to the door of the would-be club space, which formerly housed a sports bar and was also to feature a 400 Bar-affiliated restaurant. The museum, which was open from June until Sept. 7 for the touring exhibit “Ladies and Gentlemen … The Beatles,” is included in the eviction.
Filed on behalf of the mall, the notice lists a court date of Sept. 30 and $326,460.66 in delinquent rent. Edina-based Music Parks United is listed along with the 400 Bar as the companies that owe the mall.
In a lease that went into effect Jan. 31, the monthly rent on the new club and museum space was $69,906, according to court documents.
Mall executives put out a statement that pointed to the bar’s financial problems.
“Finding appropriate financing terms can be a substantial obstacle for small business. This seems to be the circumstances for 400 Bar as they prepared to open at Mall of America,” the statement said. “Timing and economic environment appear too challenging to allow 400 Bar to move forward with their plans.”
“While disappointed that 400 will not open at the mall,” the statement added, “we wish them the very best.”
Tom Sullivan, one of the longtime operators of the 400 Bar, declined to comment when reached by phone Wednesday. Sullivan ran the bar for 18 years with his brother Bill, a concert veteran who was a tour manager for the Replacements and Soul Asylum.
The Sullivan brothers brought in a new partner toward the end of their run at the old location, Joe O’Brien, a local concert professional. O’Brien was more the spokesman and public figurehead for the club and museum when the MOA deal was announced, but he has not responded to requests for comment on the bar since July.
Just days before it was to host its first batch of concerts starting in late June, the 400 looked nowhere close to opening — in fact, it appeared that no work had been done to the space. A concert with former Wings member Denny Laine was held in the museum instead.
Despite the delays, mall management at the time still sounded enthusiastic about the club, which would have been near the MOA’s fourth-floor House of Comedy and Corona Cantina #1.
“Live music is something we don’t have a lot of at night time here, and [the 400 owners] are known around Minnesota for bringing in authentic music,” Maureen Baush, vice president for business development at the MOA, said then.
Bausch said the rising number of hotel rooms near the mall was raising demand for nighttime entertainment there. She also believed the venue would be popular with aging 400 Bar patrons who are now eager to see live music with seats outside of the late-night downtown core.
The 400 Bar’s former location, at the corner of Cedar and Riverside Avenues, now houses a community center for Somali neighborhood residents.