A Q&A with a former nightclub owner
In the aftermath of Oakland's Ghost Ship fire tragedy, many are still looking for answers. We know the warehouse was home to a vibrant underground music scene, a collective that at any given time ranged from resident musicians and artists, who lived there on a semi-permanent basis, to partygoers visiting for the first time on a weekend night.
What outsiders may not realize is that spaces like the Ghost Ship grew out of manufacturing's general decline, which left large vacant mills dotting the urban landscape. Property speculators buy cheap, with visions of rebuilding, redeveloping, and creating vibrant communities not unlike what existed at the Ghost Ship.
But the risk-reward gamble - in which some landlords seem to largely ignore fire code safety and related property concerns - may turn out to be too steep a bet. On condition of anonymity, a former East Coast nightclub owner shed some light on what's at stake.
In the Q&A below, the former nightclub owner brings us back to the Station Night Club fire in Rhode Island, which took place roughly 14 years ago, in 2003.