Myth Live, the Maplewood music venue that was embroiled in a legal battle with the city after a string of police calls, overdoses and violence, could be torn down and replaced with apartments as part of a new vision for the city's North End.
Fargo, N.D.-based developer Enclave Companies has a purchase agreement to acquire the venue at 3090 Southlawn Dr. near the Maplewood Mall. The company plans to raze the the building — a repurposed shoe store built in the late 1990s — and construct a 241-unit market-rate apartment building.
"This, I think, is just the stimulus we need on the North End to get things moving. I think this would be a wonderful first big project," Maplewood Mayor Marylee Abrams said at a meeting to review the plan. "This will be very good for the future development of the North End."
Enclave said it needs the city to provide $6.4 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) over 16 years to cover some of the costs of redeveloping the site. The City Council will consider that request at Monday's meeting, said Assistant Community Development Director Michael Martin.
The council, acting as the city's Economic Development Authority, got a first look at the proposed deal in late July and seemed upbeat about the project. Outside financial consulting firm Ehlers analyzed the project and recommended the TIF terms, which will allow for an 8.4% return on investment for the developer, according to city documents. Enclave had originally requested 23 years of TIF assistance.
According to a city staff report, the four-story apartment building will include studios, one- two- and three-bedroom units and underground parking. It will also include a rooftop patio, solar panels, community room, wellness center, car wash, dog wash and trail connections.
Patrick Brama, with Enclave, said as part of the deal the developer is ceding a 40-foot right of way on the east side of the property for a future road. Some TIF money will be used to construct that road, he said.
"We have been working closely with the city on this project," Brama said. "We are going to be a community partner and we are excited to help the city move its vision forward and keep this area thriving."
Enclave didn't disclose the purchase price amid the pending sale. Brama said land costs are higher than a typical apartment project because the site includes an existing business.
Once completed, the building and property will have an estimated $54.5 million assessed value, according to city documents.
Bill Skolnick, an attorney for Myth Live II, which leases the building from Lighthouse Management Group, Inc., and operates the venue, said they were unaware of the pending deal.
"We are unaware of any purchase agreement. However, we do have a lease with an automatic 10-year extension until 2033," Skolnick said.
The nightclub opened in 2005, closed four years later and reopened in 2011. The club has weathered a series of ownership changes — according to Ramsey County property records, the property last changed hands in 2015 when GFY Real Estate LLC acquired it for $3.6 million.
The venue's capacity is about 3,000 people, according to court documents. Before the pandemic, it operated 50 to 90 days a year. Its October calendar currently lists three events.
Myth's relationship with city leaders began to deteriorate in 2019 after police responded to more than 250 police calls in two years, including a wave of drug overdoses and a shooting outside the venue.
Frustrated Maplewood leaders required the venue to comply with a stricter set of rules to keep its liquor license. Myth sued the city over the new rules, but both a trial and appellate court ruled in favor of the city.