Binghamton Residents Fear Trouble from “Members Only” Business
Some neighbors of a Binghamton business that has opened in a building that had been locked down for violent incidents are worried there'll be more trouble in the future.
People who live near the site at 350 Clinton Street told WNBF News they are concerned that the place may be home to a new after-hours club.
The business is located in the same building where the 17 East nightclub had operated before it was shut down by court order in April 2014.
The lockdown directive followed a series of problems including shootings, assaults and drug arrests at the bar.
The property and a neighboring building were sold to an LLC using a New York City address in January. A few months later, signage promoting the opening of a business for "Memberz Only" was installed on the windows of a storefront next door to the old 17 East tavern.
City councilman Giovanni Scaringi heard some concerns about the place from nearby residents. The city inspected the site after he contacted Binghamton zoning officer Greg Buell. Based on that inspection, it appeared an unlicensed marijuana shop was being operated there.
In recent weeks, nearby residents have reported seeing people coming and going from the spot leading them to believe a private club if now being run at the site.
One woman who lived in the neighborhood when 17 East was still in business said she's fearful that the violence they used to deal with will return. She said: "I'm waiting for the shooting to start."
An employee of the business was unable to answer questions about the establishment when a reporter visited in June. The identity of the business owner could not be determined.
Mayor Jared Kraham said his office had not received any calls from residents about the property. In an email, he noted "afterhours places can pop up very quickly and without notice." He said he and police will monitor the situation.
One of the purported owners of the property - Braham Berg - recently contacted the city for approval of a clothing and jewelry store for 348 Clinton Street. Berg could not be reached to comment on what's been happening at the site in recent months.