York City Council concerned potential nightclub may bring 'problems' downtown

Rebecca Klar
York Dispatch
The old Citizens Bank building at 1 N. George St. in York City.

The owners of a nightclub in Springettsbury Township looking to shift their business to York City might hit a snag when transferring their liquor license. 

Brothers Matt and Sean Landis, owners of Fat Daddy's on East Market Street, are in the process of purchasing the old Citizens Bank on York City's Continental Square from the Redevelopment Authority Board.

York City Council President Henry Nixon voiced concerns about the nightclub — over safety, security and noise — at a Wednesday, Feb. 27, committee meeting.

"I'm old enough to remember when we had all those nightclubs downtown, about 30 years ago or so, and there were a lot of problems, and I'd hate to have those problems revisit us in another couple of years," Nixon said. 

Council members voted 3-2 at Wednesday's meeting in favor of holding a hearing to discuss authorizing the liquor license transfer to the future business at 1 N. George St. Council members Judy Ritter-Dickson and Edquina Washington voted against holding the hearing.

A date for the hearing had not yet been set as of Thursday, Feb. 28. 

The city has made strides toward improving the quality of apartments and surrounding areas, Nixon said. 

"We're trying to attract people that want to live down here, that want to have a good life down here, and quite frankly I don't know if I'd want to live next to a bar that's open until 2 o'clock in the morning with live music, with up to 500 people coming out until 2 o'clock in the morning," he said. "I know that I'm a man of advanced years, so I may be stilted in my thoughts." 

Matt Landis said the business model depends on the liquor license.

Landis also said the future business would be "vastly different" from Fat Daddy's and "more upscale." 

It would feature live music, food and drinks, primarily focused on entertainment. 

"This is a void in York's offerings," he said.

The food would be a "notch up from bar food" but not detract or cause competition with the high-end food choices downtown, he said. It would be open for lunch and dinner, likely until 2 a.m. 

Landis added that he and his co-owner brother have not had issues with the liquor license in the past. 

"We wouldn't have a liquor license if we didn't know what we're doing," he said. 

At the request of Mayor Michael Helfrich, Landis said he can provide information regarding police incidents ahead of the public hearing. 

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Landis also said the project developers would be investing about $4 million into the city. 

The RDA has executed the community development agreement and the process is moving forward, but the sale is not yet complete, said RDA Chairman Michael Black. 

The Landis brothers will be paying $450,000 for the property, Black said. The sale will be complete "hopefully by summer," he said. 

— Rebecca Klar can be reached at rklar@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter @RebeccaKlar_.