GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A downtown Grand Rapids nightclub has closed over safety concerns.
It said that despite overcoming “the (COVID-19) pandemic and the riots downtown that impacted so many small businesses, without the receipt of pandemic loan relief which we weren’t eligible for,” it was shutting its doors.
“The profound truth is that the business climate and the persistent safety issues that have increased all over downtown, in an unprecedented way, has caused us to reexamine our hefty ongoing investment in this establishment,” the Facebook post says.
It said it did not have many problems within the business itself due to its security team, but “the unwanted loitering and elements that galvanized on public streets and sidewalks as well as in the neighborhood surrounding, made it untenable for us to continue our operation.”
Ambiance thanked its staff and patrons for their support.
“Grand Rapids is a growing city, and it’s got its eye on becoming a destination city, and that can’t happen without having a mentality and a philosophy where safety is prioritized for people who are making extensive investments in the downtown corridor,” Jonathan Jelks, one of the co-owners, told News 8’s partner MiBiz.
He said they had met with the city but were not given adequate solutions for their concerns.
In a statement released on Monday, the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce said safety concerns in the city need to be addressed. It said it has met with city leaders multiple times to discuss “the need to tackle criminal and unacceptable behavior impacting our workplaces and the residents of downtown.”
“We cannot speak to all the issues that may have contributed to the closing of Ambience GR Kitchen & Lounge, but addressing public safety concerns and improving outcomes is a top priority for the Chamber.
“The Chamber and business leaders have met several times with Commissioners and City leadership on the need to tackle criminal and unacceptable behavior impacting our workplaces and the residents of downtown. We have offered solutions and will continue to advocate for action.
“Increased efforts by the City have produced some positive outcomes, but businesses continue to reach out again with issues of harassment, trespassing, breaking and entering and defecation. As more employees return to regular in-person work and our city continues to attract new residents, safety in our City needs to be addressed.
“Violence and crime are issues across the region and country, and the causes our complex. Yet, we cannot accept status quo and must address it head on. Our business community will continue to work to promote a safe and healthy environment for everyone. It is critical to a thriving and prosperous community.”Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce