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The 4th Street Saloon, a north Minneapolis nightlife spot that has been a West Broadway mainstay but dogged by sometimes deadly crime in and near the establishment, is closing at month's end and is in line for a radical makeover by the new owner as a family-friendly dining and entertainment venue.

"It used to be a lot of fun," running the bar and music venue on West Broadway just west of Interstate 94, owner Greg Hegwood said Tuesday. "Business has been very slow this last year. … The bar was a cash cow over the years."

Shootings, sometimes fatal, and other violence have occurred on or near his property for many years despite the saloon beefing up security and posting warning signs outside that police have 24-hour video surveillance in place.

A check of police records dating back five years shows more than 300 calls for service to the saloon's address, many involving gun possession, assault, gunfire, auto theft, robbery and so on.

Hegwood made no excuses for the reputation the 4th Street Saloon gained as a magnet for serious crime in a part of the city that has struggled to push back against the violence.

"My bar is a gang banger bar," said Hegwood, who has for years employed security staff and used metal detectors at the saloon with limited success. "That's the crowd we went after."

He said he is selling the property to Teto Wilson, an entrepreneur who cuts hair and owns Wilson's Image barbershop a little more than a mile to the west on Broadway.

Hegwood said he's selling to Wilson for "a pretty cheap price … because of the plan for what he wants to do with it. … How am I going to charge [more] for the business when I have dead people in the parking lot?"

Wilson said Tuesday the plan is to erase any vestige of the saloon's image and replace it with "a community space where people can come in and dine and be entertained. We want it to be safe, bring kids and even grandparents."

The project calls for four or five food vendors to be anchored on the first floor and include a stage for live music from an array of styles, but "steer away from music that triggers people and gets them hyped — wholesome music that people can feel good about."

A grant from Hennepin County's Affordable Commercial Incentive Fund has chipped in about $500,000, and the last of the financing is in the works, Wilson said.

The goal for an opening date for what is to be called Swank Eatery, the 50-year-old Wilson estimated, "in an ideal world would probably be early summer 2025."

News of the saloon's days being numbered spilled out Monday in a social media posting by Mike Oker, who was general manager since 2000 until he put that aside in November to help Hegwood with the sale to Wilson.

"It's true, we are closing our doors after 37 amazing years of serving our north Minneapolis family!!!!" Oker announced. "We will miss everyone so much & thank you for making the 4th Street Saloon a great place to be for so many years!!!! Northside for life!!!"

Commenters on Oker's posting lamented the saloon closing and spoke of the good memories they had there. By contrast, comments left on a crime watch Facebook page were cheering the business shutting down.

The saloon's presence not only as a place to have a drink and enjoy music but also its eye-popping exterior mural has stood as a welcoming tribute to jazz, blues and funk for the past several years.

Wilson said his plans for the building are about "changing the name, changing the image and changing the vision" for that street corner, so the fate of the massive artwork is to be determined for now. He declined to say more, explaining, "I don't want to ruffle any feathers."

To mark the closure, a farewell bash is planned for Sunday before locking the doors for good on March 31.

"We're really excited abut the transition," said Oker, whose been working at the saloon since 2000, first as a hip-hop DJ. "I have no regrets. We've had a really, really amazing time down there."