Traffic Commission to hold special meeting for potential new franchise at Johnny's

Posted: Feb. 27, 2013 9:16 am Updated: Mar. 13, 2013 10:15 am

By MATT HOPF Herald-Whig Staff Writer

The Quincy Traffic Commission will meet in special session at 5 p.m. Thursday to discuss a request by the owner of the now-closed Johnny Bang Bang's nightclub to place a four-way stop at Front and Hampshire.

Alderman Jack Holtschlag, D-7, said he asked for the meeting because the four-way stop is part of a tentative agreement that the nightclub owner has with a national franchiser to put a new business in the facility at 138 N. Front.

Owner Duane Venvertloh said he has signed a nondisclosure agreement with the franchiser, so he declined to provide any details on what kind of business could open there or whether he would be the franchise holder.

"(Franchiser representatives) had requested (as) a matter of public safety, before they would be interested in doing anything here, that there be a four-way stop at Front and Hampshire," Venvertloh said.

City Engineer Jeff Steinkamp said the request was tabled for 30 days at the Feb. 11 Traffic Commission meeting because "there wasn't enough information to make a recommendation." Holtschlag asked that the special meeting be scheduled instead of waiting until March.

Steinkamp said representatives of the franchiser are expected to provide more information at Thursday's meeting.

The four-way stop will be the only topic the commission will discuss Thursday. Venvertloh had previously requested another four-way stop at Second and Hampshire, as well as additional parking along Front Street.

Steinkamp said the city has been looking at parking issues along Front.

"There is some city property that we could maybe add some more parking," he said. "Some diagonal parking was reviewed, but I don't think was very successful. We did a review of that total area to see where we could maximize (parking)."

Some additional parking places are included in the riverfront connector project that will link Edgewater and Clat Adams parks, which is slated to move forward this summer.

Venvertloh announced in January that Johnny Bang Bang's had closed for major renovations after it had not reapplied for its city liquor license, which expired Jan. 1. The former home of Backwaters, Johnny's opened in mid-2011 as a nightclub and performance venue.

The property is zoned downtown riverfront, which can be used for bars, taverns, nightclubs, restaurants, retail, museums, offices, residential units, theaters, warehousing and light manufacturing.