Live Nation will have to wait until 2015 to open its new Triangle club: Million-dollar remodeling efforts at The Ritz, the long-running Raleigh venue that the world’s largest concert promoter purchased earlier this fall, have been delayed indefinitely. The contractor failed to obtain proper building permits from the City of Raleigh. Though the club originally planned to reopen on Nov. 18, three subsequent shows were moved to different venues. A Chase Rice performance scheduled for Dec. 18 will be relocated, too.
On Monday, according to city records obtained by the INDY, Dave Huffstetler, a code enforcement worker, visited the site at 2820 Industrial Dr. after receiving a complaint that construction was proceeding without permits. Workers were building bathrooms, Huffstetler says, which would require building, plumbing, electrical and perhaps even mechanical approval from the city. The job’s general contractor, Tony Patterson, told Huffstetler that the plans were being reviewed downtown, but that he did not have the proper paperwork. Patterson did not respond to several requests for comment.
“There was no permit at all,” says Huffstetler. “I issued a stop-work order and said they could do no more work until they got the proper permits on site.”
According to David Hickman, a Raleigh code enforcement specialist and Hickman’s superior, Live Nation requested an inspection in early October in order to determine what work needed to be done to restore the room to current city code. On Oct. 6, the city completed that inspection. The demolition that had begun required no permit, says Hickman, but the subsequent construction was never approved. Had it been completed, Hickman says, it could have led to future liability issues for the club and Live Nation. A search of the city’s database shows that no construction permits have been issued for the space since 2005.
“No one is supposed to do permit-able work without a permit,” Hickman says.
Plans have since been submitted to the city for approval, and Hickman says the proper paperwork could be ready as early as 10 more business days. A representative with House of Blues Entertainment, the Live Nation division that will operate The Ritz, said Thursday night that they will not have an exact opening date until 2015. Three shows are now scheduled for The Ritz in January, but he could not confirm whether or not they would be moved.
“Construction delays like this are common,” the representative said. “We are working actively with the city on capital improvements, so that, when The Ritz opens, Raleigh will be extremely be proud of it.”