ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Department of Public Safety ordered a downtown nightspot Friday to close and be boarded up for a year citing that it is “a threat to public safety and welfare of the residents in this community.”
Once the nuisance order is posted, Reign Restaurant will have 30 days to vacate, according to city documents. The business is located at 1122 Washington Avenue.
The decision came after a public nuisance abatement hearing held Sept. 20 following the police linking a series of shootings and assaults at Reign in August and early September.
In September, Reign’s liquor license was suspended after video evidence surfaced of a shootout that took place in December of last year.
“The Respondent has failed to abate the nuisance behavior at the property. The nuisance activity has continued and become increasingly violent at the property unabated,” city documents state.
During the September hearing, no one showed up in support of the business and no one testified on its behalf.
The landlord’s attorneys did not defend Reign and said the landlord has been trying to evict the business. They also argued that action should be taken against Reign and not the property owner.
A local business owner shared his thoughts on Reign Restaurant closing.
“I think it’s probably a good thing until they can figure something out, but it’s gotten a little out of hand,” Barri Strange said.
He added that his friend was shot there last month trying to break up a fight and is now paralyzed from the waist down.
“He left at closing time and there was a couple that had been at Reign, and the gentleman was beating up his girlfriend. And my friend stepped in to try and break it up, and he ended up getting shot four times,” Strange said.
A resident who lives behind Reign Restaurant said he has seen his fair share of crime and is relieved that the business is closing.
“Thank god, I mean it’s horrible with this place,” Jared Ahart said. “The crowd that that club attracts is just obviously not a good crowd and so many people come out for it.”
“There’s always people around drunk and disrespectful, and people’s cars being broken into, people shooting at people, and I don’t want to live like that. I don’t want to live around any of that.”
In August, a St. Louis City detective said more violent crimes took place outside the business on Washington Avenue than any other downtown commercial property.
Law enforcement had stepped up their presence, blocking off the area around Reign Restaurant.
Reign Restaurant owner Dana Kelly has no comment at this time.