The controversial proposal to convert a vacant warehouse at the edge of the Lower Garden District into a venue for an immersive-theater experience called “The Fallen Saint” will be deferred by the City Council again until their October meeting, officials said.
Owners Seth and Rosa Dunlap are seeking a conditional-use permit from the City Council to allow a bar and live entertainment in the building at 1152 Magazine Street, but have run into adamant opposition from neighbors. Opponents say the project will likely overburden the neighborhood with noisy, drunken patrons and traffic, and that it could become a full-fledged nightclub or something much more objectionable if The Fallen Saint leaves.
While one group of longtime Lower Garden District activists have been publicly organizing opposition to the project, the Lower Garden District Association had been poised to support it earlier this summer. In return, the association had asked that the Dunlaps sign a restrictive covenant agreeing to relinquish the conditional-use permits that allow the venue if they sell the building or lose the Fallen Saint lease.
On Monday, Lower Garden District association president Ryan Kropog announced that the Dunlaps had decided not to sign the agreement, so the association would not be taking a position on the project. No board members offered a motion to oppose it instead, so Kropog urged association members to make their opinions known to Councilman Jay H. Banks’ office directly.
“We thought our position was a compromise that would allow the project to happen while allowing the neighborhood to have input on building’s future use,” Kropog said. “The owners made a business decision. That’s perfectly fine, but that’s where it stands. At this point, our elected officials need to decide.”
Since attaining a positive recommendation from the City Planning Commission in July, the Dunlap’s request has pending before the City Council for several weeks and appears on Thursday’s agenda. Banks’ office confirmed this week that it will be delayed once more until Oct. 4, the last meeting before the council’s Oct. 8 deadline to make a decision on the project.