Fewer lights will flicker on in the South Campus Gateway this weekend, and patrons aren’t the only ones who were surprised.
Since the beginning of the summer, at least three properties in the area have closed — Charlie Bear: Land of Dance, Gooeyz and Kildare’s Irish Pub, the former two of which announced their leaves via Twitter within the last two weeks — leaving owners of the spaces surprised.
“The social media blurb was news to us,” said Amanda Hoffsis, president of Campus Partners for Community Urban Redevelopment about Charlie Bear’s notice. “We were not expecting that announcement.”
Campus Partners is a private nonprofit corporation that works on community planning in the OSU campus area alongside OSU and the city of Columbus. South Campus Gateway LLC is a subtenant of Campus Partners, Hoffsis said in an email.
The later abrupt notice of Gooeyz’s closing was also unexpected by Campus Partners.
“I expected them to be open (Tuesday). I found out (Tuesday morning) about their announcement,” Hoffsis said on the phone.
Within a span of less than two weeks, patrons of these two establishments have had to accept that late-night grilled cheese sandwiches following a night of dancing are no longer an option in the Gateway.
Charlie Bear revealed via Twitter and Facebook Oct. 24 it would be moving to a new location at 2885 Olentangy River Road, formerly Cadillac Boo’s, which is owned by the same people as Charlie Bear. A new location might not be the only motivation for the three-mile shift off campus though.
“I can tell you in the past six months (Charlie Bear has) been unable to fulfill their lease terms, and we’ve been in negotiations with them since early summer how to address those issues,” Hoffsis said, though she told The Lantern she could not disclose specifics.
Matt Bean, Charlie Bear’s general manager, said in an interview with The Lantern Oct. 24 plans to move had been in the works for “about two weeks.”
Campus Partners was unable to disclose the exact parameters of the lease, or the contracts themselves, because the leases “are between those businesses and South Campus Gateway LLC,” Hoffsis said in an email.
Bean did not respond to multiple requests for comment over the last week concerning the lease with the Gateway.
Although the dance club is set to make the move to the new location, Hoffsis said on the phone negotiations are still underway.
“We are continuing to have those discussions even though they have made the decision to close and move their operation. We are currently negotiating an end to that lease,” she said.
Charlie Bear’s lease was scheduled to end in January 2016, Hoffsis confirmed in an email.
Bean said Charlie Bear will not be using the location in the Gateway after its move and final open weekend.
Allison Roda, fifth-year in business marketing and strategic communication, went to the bar on its last open night before the doors of the land of dance closed for good Oct. 26.
“A lot of people were a little bit down about it, but I think everyone thought Charlie Bear was closing because of poor performance and just not having enough people coming in,” she said.
Allison Jordan, a fourth-year in finance, said she wasn’t surprised to hear Charlie Bear was closing, but for different reasons.
“I thought it was just because it was too big, they couldn’t pay the rent,” she said.
Nine days later, another Gateway tenant shut its doors.
A tweet from Gooeyz restaurant and bar’s Twitter account, @Gooeyz, read “Gooeyz is now closed. Thank you for your patronage and all of the Cheezy Love!!” Monday.
Hoffsis said in an email Gooeyz’s decision to close didn’t have to do with a problem fulfilling the terms of its lease with the Gateway.
“Their lease terms were slightly different and so it’s a different situation with them. I believe they are looking for other locations,” Hoffsis said on the phone.
She added she was not able to disclose the terms of their lease because it is still not completely finalized.
Roda said the closures of the businesses are going to make a difference in the Gateway.
“It is really going to kill the vibe down there, because now all that is there is going to be (is) Mad Mex and (Ugly Tuna),” Roda said. “It’s not going to be the environment it used to be.”
Gooeyz’s owners did not respond to an email or multiple phone calls requesting comment.
Gooeyz’s closing and Charlie Bear’s move have pushed the number of vacant spots in the Gateway up to about three with Kildare’s Irish Pub’s former space still sitting empty after its closing this summer.
Hoffsis said in an email Kildare’s wasn’t able to fulfill its lease either.
Representatives from both Mad Mex and Pizza Rustica declined to comment on the tenants’ exits and newly vacated spaces.
Jordan said there could be repercussions for the Gateway as a whole.
“It’s going to hurt (the Gateway). I go there all the time. I usually start out at (Ugly Tuna) and then make my way around there, so (Gateway businesses are) going to lose a lot of business,” she said. “Maybe Tuna might (get) more business.”
Although two of the announcements occurred within 11 days of each other, Hoffsis said on the phone it was a coincidence.
“We were surprised by it, but we are focused on just getting … even better tenants, if that’s possible, into the space,” she said.
But with hankerings for gourmet grilled cheese paired with one of the most popular dance clubs on campus, some students are skeptical about the closings.
“That would be weird that they both closed within a week of each other,” said Lisa Penn, a third-year in psychology. “Not that it was planned, but that’s just really weird that they would close so close together.”
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: Nov. 7, 2013
An earlier version of this story was accompanied with an inaccurate graphic depicting the South Campus Gateway.