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Cabaret Denied: Corktowners Say Not In My Backyard

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This post was authored by Curbed contributor MJ Galbraith.

Does it seem like Corktown is all about new business openings these days? With Mercury Burger Bar, Detroit Institute of Bagels, and Brooklyn Street Local all on the way, you would think the hood can't get enough new hangouts. Well here is one that was shot down on Porter Street. Locals don't love a cabaret, it would seem. There was a concentrated effort by a group of Corktowners to stop a new business plan.

Proving that it's not all sunshine and lollipops for would-be restauranteurs and bar-owners, the old Porter Street Station site has been denied in its application for a Group A Cabaret license. A Group A Cabaret license allows "dancing, entertainment and on-site consumption of beer, wine and alcoholic beverages." Now, the Porter Street Station (just down the street from Mudgie's Deli) has a notorious legacy in Corktown. Legend has it the 1980's Tigers used to hang out there after games (which has us dreaming of this Magnum P.I. clip). It was also an apparently very rowdy after-hours spot that was eventually raided and shut down by the police in 2007. Most recently, it was a members only techno club.

According to this official document care of the Detroit Building & Safety Engineering Department, a proposal to re-open the site as a Cabaret (Group A) has been denied effective January 24, 2012. The reasons listed:

1. They need 10 more off-street parking spaces
2. The site's raucous past and its effect on the neighborhood
3. An incompatibility with Corktown's identity in terms of "location, size, and character"
4. "A concentration of regulated uses"—four—within 1,000' radius of 1400 Porter

The city received 6 letters of opposition and a petition signed by 42 near-by residents and property owners, among other objections. The right to appeal the denial remains. This, of course, raises the property owner vs. community activism debate--and your chance to have your say.

Poll results

Porter Street Station Building

1400 Porter St , Detroit, MI 48226