More Downtown Tensions – Enzo Nightclub Sued By The Monarch

Posted by on Jan 25, 2011 in Blog Posts | No Comments

I’m expecting to see a lot more issues like this as Downtown adds residential units. There seems to be a little bit of cognitive dissonance going on with some Downtown residents – one of the main reasons people move downtown is the proximity to nightlife and cultural amenities, but these are the first things that garner complaints. It’s a matter of growing pains, I guess, and it will be interesting to see how this trial pans out. I’m guessing that Enzo will probably win.

To go slightly off topic for a second, it would be nice to see more Downtown apartments go the route of Greystar’s Red River Flats and take steps to accommodate residents without shutting down nightlife; they’ve installed acoustic windows in their bedrooms and put up a wall for the Mohawk (at Greystar’s expense) to keep noise in. Possibly more importantly, they do a good job of educating residents about the fact that they live right next to The Mohawk and Stubb’s BBQ, and that there will be some noise at times. My clients there tell me they have no noise problems, either because of the construction, or because they have proper expectations for the area – if your apartment looks right over the outdoor stage at Stubb’s and you can enjoy the shows there for free, from the comfort of your living room, I guess it’s worth the trade off. I think the Monarch might benefit from a little bit of resident education as well. (Article after the jump.)

From News 8 Austin:

2/10/2010 12:24 AM

The Monarch files suit to remove neighbor

By: John A. Salazar

Austin is experiencing some downtown growing pains, and complaints about living in the middle of the “Live Music Capital of the World” are now being hashed out in a Travis County court.

Since its September opening, Enzo Restaurant and Lounge at 801 West Fifth Street has been garnering complaints from neighbors. Now, The Monarch condominium has filed suit against the establishment, claiming loud music and public drunkenness are on the rise since Enzo opened its doors.

“We get large rowdy crowds of patrons from Enzo,” said Ian Ingles, who lives directly across the street from the new restaurant.

“When you have residents and mixed businesses mixed together in a mixed use environment, it has to be livable,” Ingles said.

Representatives from the Monarch refused to answer questions regarding the lawsuit filed against their neighbor.  According to the Austin Police Department, most of the calls coming from the area around the establishment are minor.

“It’s basically noise, disturbance or parking issues,” Senior Police Officer Cory Erhler said.

In fact, since May of this year, 19 noise complaints have come from the area around 801 West Fifth Street. Nine of those were about a single apartment unit. Ten calls were made against Enzo.  There is no record of Enzo receiving noise or code violations.  The owner of the lounge believes the new neighbors are overzealous when it comes to calling the cops.

“It’s kind of frustrating at this point because we have all this pressure on us to basically solve a problem that is not really a problem.”

Emmanuel Loo expresses the thoughts of officers frequently called to the area in question: “Everytime they come, they walk in the door. They’re like ‘We’re here one more time but we don’t know what we’re doing here because you’re always in compliance.’”

Police say all areas downtown seem to be experiencing growing pains.

“You’ve got the Rainey Street which is residential and a business area,” Senior Officer Erhler said. “Second Street District, same thing. They’re mixed together so it’s not a single spot, it’s just the whole thing together, so we’re gonna have to come up with a way to play nice with each other.”

The trial is set for March of next year.

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