FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – Disgraceful and horrendous. That is how one Fresno Councilmember described the process of Club One Casino working with the city to move to Granite Park.
It hasn’t been easy for Club One Owner Kyle Kirkland to fully move into the building, which used to be Club Imperio. However, the city finally gave the green light for Kirkland to fully open almost a year after the initial application.
“I think you have been treated horrendously, atrociously,” said Councilmember Garry Bredefeld. “I suspect and hope that no other business person that comes before the council gets treated like you did here. It was a complete disgrace.”
Bredefeld was outraged at the council meeting as he spoke directly to Kirkland. Bredefeld claimed councilmembers treated Club One Casino unfairly when considering Kirkland’s application that was filed last April to move Club One from downtown to Granite Park.
“This is nonsense,” said Bredefeld.
Despite support from the Mayor, Police Chief and City Manager in July, Kirkland had to jump through several hoops to get the approval including holding a community meeting, coming before the council five times and only having 31 of the 51 tables open for the first 90 days due to concerns from a few residents and Councilmember Tyler Maxwell who represents the district.
Maxwell said the 90 days was a sweet spot that allowed the neighborhood to trust there would not be any problems with traffic, crime or noise.
“I think the 90 days was helpful Mr. Kirkland, for me to hear back from the community I serve,” said Maxwell. “Without adding so much time to say that with the ramp-up, and the time that it will take to build out the rest of your building, that this would prevent hundreds of people from going back to work.”
Kirkland said only about 170 of his former 300 employees were brought back on board after the partial approval in August. Now, with the final green light, he does plan on remodeling 60% of the building and bringing the rest of the employees back.
“Certainly it is one last thing that we have to worry about and now we can focus on finishing the building and getting folks back to work,” said Kirkland.
Kirkland has spent $1.5 million in remodels so far and each year brings in around $1 million in tax sales revenue for the city.