According to an agreed judgment filed in Hidalgo County’s 332nd District Court, Gamehaus has agreed to cease operations after December 31st of this year, ending a nearly two-year long legal battle with the City of McAllen.
Back in December 2015, JACR LLC, which owns and operates Gamehaus, filed a lawsuit against the city of McAllen “challenging the constitutionality of the City of McAllen’s ordinance(s) regarding what constitutes as a bar versus a restaurant.”
In the ordinance, a restaurant is defined as an establishment that derives 51% of their gross income from prepared food, among other qualifications. This distinction is fairly important because the City of McAllen has stringent ordinances and zoning measures that prohibit restaurants or, in this case, bars from operating in specific zones for safety and noise purposes.
The address of 2109 W. Nolana Ave., where Gamehaus is currently located, is zoned within what is considered a “C-3 General Business District” McAllen’s municipal code explicitly allows restaurants to operate within these districts granted if the establishment acquires a restaurant permit from the city. This type of district also conditionally allows bars to operate if, again, the establishment acquires what is considered a conditional use permit (CUP) from the city. A CUP enforces even more stringent guidelines for bars, making obtaining one an almost impossible task.
In this case, Gamehaus’ sales were audited three times between September 2014 through May 2015 in an attempt to inquire on whether the establishment was, in fact, a restaurant or a bar. McAllen’s city attorney Kevin Pagan concluded that the results from the third audit showed that Gamehaus was “operating as a bar” and that “in order to operate…as a bar, (Gamehaus) must submit an application for…a conditional use permit (CUP).” Pagan also stated in his report, in an almost hilariously obvious foreshadow, “Please notice that submittal of a CUP application does not guarantee that such will be granted.”
Gamehaus subsequently filed their lawsuit and rolled their dice on the courts.
It’s also noteworthy that their permit issue wasn’t the only controversy that plagued the popular North McAllen bar (yes, it was a bar). Some of you may recall the deadly shooting that left one person severely injured and another dead. Back in mid-2015, the City of McAllen also had to adopt new parking ordinances to combat Gamehaus’ sprawl of visitors that were disrupting neighboring residential areas.
Following these instances, Gamehaus’ CUP was denied by the City Commission in August 2016.
And now, having stared down the possibility of sinking more money into litigation, Gamehaus decided to pull the plug on their fight and close up shop. Seby Haddad, one of Gamehaus’ five owners, wrote to The Monitor, “Despite the strong merits of our case, the four years and ongoing burden of legal fees and risk of a pending trial against the weight of the city has forced us to make a difficult decision to close the venue.”
Earlier in October, the Monitor questioned the merits of McAllen’s incentive package, usually doled out to out-of-area investors, being awarded to Haddad’s business group for a new microbrewery on North 10th, however with the news of Gamehaus’ closing, it seems as if the package was merely a consolation for closing the bar.
I guess there’s always Cigar Bar to get trashed at.
The agreement below: