Apartment3 to close May 27
Note: This post has been updated. Please see below.
Century Center restaurant and lounge Apartment3 will close its doors on Sunday, May 27, after nearly three years in business, according to an announcement made yesterday via social media.
"It is with a heavy heart that we announce that this will be our last week in business due to circumstances beyond our control," read an update that was posted to Apartment3's Facebook and Twitter accounts. "This Sunday will be our last day."
Apartment3 opened for business in July 2009 after owner Chip Jewitt agreed to partner with local promoters Flash Hansen and Matty Hazelgrove and redesign his year-old Aria Restaurant and Lounge. The new space was called Apartm3nt at first, but the name was changed after some expressed confusion about how to pronounce it.
Despite solid reviews and a faithful customer following due to its owners' deep roots in the bar and nightclub industries, issues arose between the restaurant and the Century Center Association of Apartment Owners — the biggest of which were noise and parking complaints from other residents in the building.
"Our location, it's just tough (to do business there)," said Apartment3 co-owner Flash Hansen. "We thought we were able to turn a negative into a positive. I think most people didn't expect us to have the amount of success we had.
"The real issue was the noise. We're a legitimate business, conducting ourselves in a legal matter. But it got to the point where we were getting noise complaints after we were closed because our vacuums were too loud."
According to documents filed with the Hawaii State Judiciary, the Century Center AOAO sought summary possession of the restaurant in December 2011. A trial was set to resolve the case, but both parties were back in court May 3 to announce they had reached a settlement — one that apparently includes closing Apartment3.
Hansen said he would not discuss the agreement. The Century Center AOAO did not return a request for comment.
"We've been going back and forth for a while," said Hansen. "I'll just leave it at that."
Fans of Apartment3 have five more nights to party, starting with a performance by The Bentos tonight. "Munch," the restaurant's monthly pop-up dinner, will take place for the final time tomorrow, May 24, followed by the last "Champagne Campaign" party.
Friday's "Pussycat Lounge" and Saturday's "Supper Club" will take place as usual, with DJs Byron the Fur and White Chocolate on the turntables. Sunday, May 27, will be all about saying goodbye, Hansen said, making sure to note how thankful he is for the support of Apartment3's approximately two dozen employees.
"What blew me away was that the whole staff was worried about us as opposed to worrying about themselves," he said. "That put a lump in my throat.
"But our main concern is the staff. These people bend over backwards and bust their (butts) for us. Chip and I have already started doing what we can do to help them find other work."
After a shorter version of this post was published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Friday, May 25, Century Center Association of Apartment Owners vice-president (and former president) Ian Lind responded via a blog post of his own.
Although he, nor anyone else from the Century Center AOAO, responded to a request for comment last week, the post provided some additional insight.
According to Lind, the court case mentioned above was filed on behalf of the Century Center's landlord, Century Center Condominium, and was based upon "a large amount of money owed for back rent, utilities, parking fees, and other expenses."
As for the noise issues mentioned by Apartment3 co-owner Flash Hansen, Lind responded they were "raised by lawyers for Apartment3 in a counter claim against Century Center, but the judge ruled against them and threw those claims out," and that the original lawsuit "was then settled with a stipulated judgement against Apartment3."
Lind also said Apartment3 will likely end up owing the Century Center around $100,000 once all litigation is complete. Lawyers for the two groups are expected back in court next month.
Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.