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South Bend club Arabesk Palace has 'chronic problem'

South Bend club Arabesk Palace has 'chronic problem'

Postby Happy Mom » Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:49 pm

South Bend club Arabesk Palace has 'chronic problem' with crowds and police calls, city says
Arabesk owner says he's being singled out

By Jeff Parrott South Bend Tribune Jul 21, 2017 Updated 10 hrs ago (3)
South Bend nightclub crowds raising city's ire

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Robert Franklin
The Arabesk Palace interior, as seen in September shortly before it opened at 1701 N. Ironwood Drive in South Bend. The city has declared the business a “chronic problem” property, allowing it to issue citations for future police calls that can carry $250 fines per call. Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN
South Bend nightclub crowds raising city's ire

The city of South Bend has declared Arabesk Palace, 1701 N. Ironwood Drive, as a "chronic problem" property because of excessive police calls to the nightclub. Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN


SOUTH BEND — When he opened nightclub Arabesk Palace in September, manager David Farhan said “there’s nothing else like this around here.”

So far, he has turned out to be correct.

The city recently designated the business, at 1701 N. Ironwood Drive, a “chronic problem” because of excessive police calls there. The status means the city can begin fining the bar and restaurant for future calls.


Police have responded to Arabesk Palace 27 times since it opened, according to reports The Tribune obtained from the city Thursday after filing a public records request.

Many of the reports involve large crowds gathering in the Arabesk parking lot and the lots of nearby closed businesses after the club closes at 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, with bar patrons playing their music loudly and blocking traffic.

For example, at 3:20 a.m. on July 8, five officers had to block off Ironwood Drive in front of the club to clear the lots because the Arabesk customers were hanging out and driving circles in the lots. A large number of the vehicles then drove south on Ironwood to the McClure Oil station at 2304 E. Edison Road.

“The parking lot was packed full of vehicles so that no one could move and people were outside their cars dancing and taking ‘selfies,’” patrol officer Kyle Bilinski wrote in a report.

A clerk then told the officer that the gas station had started closing for about an hour every weekend night because of the large Arabesk crowds causing problems.

Two Speedway stations nearby on South Bend Avenue, typically open 24 hours, have recently started closing from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays because of the Arabesk customers, Speedway employees have told police.

“This report is being completed due to this officer being informed of another business having to change/close their business (affecting operations) due to the patrons of Arabesk Palace,” Bilinski wrote.

On July 2, officer Jeffrey Veal reported a similar environment in which Arabesk patrons continued partying outside after closing, racing motorcycles up and down Ironwood, leaving the lot at high speeds to do “burnouts” with their tires, urinating in neighboring closed businesses’ parking lots and leaving them littered with empty beer bottles.

The incidents also are tying up officers from St. Joseph County Police Department and Roseland Police Department when South Bend officers are too busy to make it there in time.

On July 1, South Bend officer Steve Noonan reported that when he arrived at 3:03 a.m., a man was found lying in the middle of Ironwood, in front of the club, after he had been assaulted, possibly on Arabesk Palace property.

There also was a drunken driving crash a block south of Arabesk, in which both cars’ occupants had been guests at Arabesk.

“In total it took eleven officers between South Bend PD, St. Joseph County PD and Roseland PD to eliminate the problems associated with the crowd,” Noonan wrote. “This was a tax on manpower for all three agencies.”

Officers also have reported crowds of 300 and more, a potential fire hazard as the club has capacity for only 275.

The club’s address has been flagged in the police dispatch system to alert responding officers to notify Officer Keenan Lane, tasked with overseeing enforcement of the Chronic Problem Ordinance, said SBPD spokesman Ken Garcia.

The city’s 2013 Chronic Problem Property ordinance allows the city to fine property owners $250 per call after an excessive number of calls, defined as five calls in a 60-day period for a property with 50 or fewer units.

The 56 pages of records released Thursday didn’t contain any citations against Arabesk Palace related to excessive police calls, but the city legal staff called it a “partial” response to The Tribune’s records request, meaning that it couldn’t yet verify whether it has issued any, said Mark Bode, spokesman for Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

David Farhan, manager of Arabesk Palace, said he hasn’t yet been cited. In response to the city’s concerns, he said he is trying to schedule fewer private events, in which he rents the facility out to an entertainment act, because those draw larger crowds.

As an example, he said he has canceled such an event that had been scheduled for Saturday, replacing it with the Darryl Buchanan Band, a rhythm and blues band that should draw a smaller, older crowd.

Farhan said he staffs seven to 10 security guards, and he and they, working together, are always able to clear the lot after closing without police help.

“They have never, ever cleared my parking lot,” Farhan said. “They bring 10 or 11 police cars and park them along Ironwood and make a scene. Once the patrons leave, they go next door and next door and next door. I don’t see how that’s my problem. A lot of people leave at the same time but we have the lot cleared in 10 to 15 minutes.”

Farhan said other area bars have crowds that are just as large. He said he plans to go the South Bend Police Department and request records related to those establishments.

“They need to rate other businesses like they’re rating me,” he said. “We spent over a million dollars on this place. We aren’t renting. We want to stay here and build our reputation. We are doing everything we can to keep that.”

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