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FARGO — The city’s Planning Department has denied a “change-of-use” permit for the Syndicate Building in the heart of downtown, where the company that owns the Romantix adult entertainment store planned to relocate.
A city of Fargo spokeswoman confirmed the denial of the change-of-use permit in an email to WDAY-TV reporter Sam Goetzinger.
The city, however, did approve a permit to complete electrical work on the building at 74 Broadway N., according to the email sent Wednesday, Aug. 31.
What the denied permit and the approved permit mean for Romantix’s planned move is unclear.
Another wrinkle came Wednesday when the City Commission met in a closed-door meeting to consult with Assistant City Attorney Ian McLean about “reasonably predictable and/or threatened litigation by Romantix Inc.,” as well as “to discuss negotiating strategy or provide negotiating instructions to its attorney or other negotiator” regarding any litigation. The details of the possible litigation were unclear.
After the meeting was reopened to the public, Mayor Tim Mahoney said commissioners had “no action to record.” The meeting was then adjourned.
In late July, an official with Denver-based Progressive Retail Management, the company that operates the Romantix chain, confirmed that PRM planned to move the downtown Fargo store from an aging building across from the downtown bus depot to 74 Broadway N., in the Syndicate Building, around the start of September.
Josh Porter, PRM’s vice president of operations, said the current location at 417 Northern Pacific Ave. will remain open two to three months after the new store opens before it is shuttered.
A permit to install a Romantix sign at 74 Broadway N. was issued July 26, by the city of Fargo.
The Syndicate Building’s neighbors at the intersection of Broadway and First Avenue North include the Hotel Donaldson, men’s clothier Halberstadt’s On Broadway and Royal Jewelers. The Blarney Stone at the Hotel Donaldson pub is planned to open on the first floor of the hotel at the end of October.
Jim Gilmour, Fargo’s director of strategic planning and research, has said that moving the Romantix store may not be legal under city ordinances, which restrict where adult entertainment centers may be located.
Both the Romantix adult bookstore and Northern Gentleman’s Club are grandfathered in under the city’s ordinances, Gilmour said. But he said if they wish to move, they must abide by the restrictions in those ordinances.