The estate of Kelly Phillips, the Minneapolis man who was fatally shot at a suburban gas station by his former business partner and lover, has sold the nightspot that Phillips operated until his death.
Lush Bar, a dining, drinking and dancing establishment in the 900 block of Central Avenue in northeast Minneapolis that caters to a gay and lesbian clientele, was sold Wednesday, the new owner said.
Ken Darling, a gay activist who at one time was vice president of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, said the business is remaining open as it goes through a major expansion and refurbishment.
Those changes include a much larger dance stage, more drink stations and wider selection of food and liquor. An “official launch” is planned for next month, said Darling, of Golden Valley. He said the nightspot will continue to be a favorite of the LGBT community, but added, “everyone is welcome.”
Along with buying the business and the building itself, Darling said, the deal also includes the duplex across the street from Lush.
Phillips, an attorney with medical device maker Boston Scientific as well as Lush’s owner, was shot to death in the parking lot of a gas station in Arden Hills on Aug. 11, 2014, by Lyle “Ty” Hoffman.
Phillips, 48, and Hoffman, now 45, were business partners in Lush and longtime life partners. They broke up more than five years ago, but their business relationship continued until 2014 when Phillips fired Hoffman and evicted him from the duplex across the street from Lush.
Hoffman remained on the run for a month until he was caught after being spotted standing near the drive-through lane outside an Arby’s in Shakopee.
Hoffman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced in March to more than 25 years in prison. Hoffman admitted that he shot Phillips after a “heated argument” about the ownership of Lush.