RiRa Irish Pub on Fourth Street Live! closed its doors over the weekend.
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – It is never a good sign when businesses shut down, but when three close in as many months it may be a warning sign. RiRa Irish Pub on Fourth Street Live! closed its doors over the weekend.
"We want to keep the district alive, we want the downtown to flourish," said Mark Dempsey, Gordon Biersch, front of house manager. "We don't want it to fold, we want it to flourish."
Lately, Fourth Street Live! seems to be a revolving door of businesses. Kentucky Restaurant Association CEO Stacy Roof will tell you this is not a good sign for our local economy hoping to bring in the country's biggest conventions.
"If more places are empty than are filled than I don't know what that conveys to people that don't live here," said Roff.
After a five year run, RiRa Irish Pub has left the block. It's a shock for longtime server and bartender Jeremy Mathley.
"We closed the bar Saturday night, we had a busy night with one the conventions in town," said Mathley. "We tried to come to work Sunday morning, U-haul out back, everything closed, they closed their doors for good."
Just in recent months, RiRa joins its neighbors Quattro and The Pub. Mathley blames it on the steep rent.
"We were profitable, but we still had to pay a lot more in rent than a lot of other places that are free standing and not in this kind of environment," said Mathley.
Roff says unfortunately this news is not surprising. "I hope the owners can look at the rent structure or breaking it up some of those spaces are really large," said Roff.
The Cordish Company owns Fourth Street Live! Not included is Gordon Biersch. It's been on Fourth Street for around a year and a half. It also relies heavily on convention business and lately their business is booming.
"We hope that by us being here and us prospering, we'll be able to keep that entertainment district going," said Dempsey.
James Layson, General Manager of Fourth Street Live! released this statement to WAVE 3 News:
The changing of operators is a natural and healthy part of any vital entertainment district. The addition of new amenities is a major reason why a district like Fourth Street has remained healthy over many years and is well positioned to remain so for the future. In this vein, we are pleased to report that Tavern on 4'th has commenced construction and is planning a grand opening for their 20,000 square foot anchor entertainment concept in the Spring of 2014. This will be their third location with the original two being in Manhattan, NY and Center City Philadelphia, PA. In addition, we will shortly announce two new, very exciting additions to Fourth Street Live! With these announcements, the RiRa space will be the only restaurant vacancy in Fourth Street Live! and the district will be 95% leased.
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