Levelz club to remain closed

Officials await completion of engineer reports to clear building

— A popular club in Steamboat Springs' Ski Time Square remains closed nearly three weeks after it was evacuated because a support beam failed.

The attorney representing the owner of the Levelz nightclub said Wednesday it remains unclear when or whether his client will reopen the club. The voluntary closure comes despite the Routt County Building Department issuing a 60-day temporary occupancy permit that would have allowed Levelz to reopen.

"We're still discussing the situation with the Sheraton," said Charles Feldmann, the attorney representing the owner of Levelz. "We're not convinced that the repairs took care of the structural problems. ...We want to make sure everyone is safe before we open that thing."

Levelz leases space in the building, which is owned by the Sheraton Steamboat Resort.

"It was strictly their decision not to (reopen)," said Chuck Porter, general manager of the Sheraton Steamboat Resort. "The tenant doesn't feel that he wants to get started and stop again if he doesn't know what the future is."

Sheraton officials still are waiting for engineering reports that should specify how the structural failure occurred and what changes need to be made to bring the load capacity up to standards. Porter suspects the building does not meet load standards, which potentially could change the way the third-floor space is used. Beefing up the floor to handle additional loads could cost too much, he said.

"It just may not be worth it for that building because, at some point, it's going to be redeveloped," Porter said.

Levelz was evacuated just after midnight Feb. 19 because a patron at Lupo's, the bar beneath Levelz, called 911 to express concern about a support beam that not handling the weight of the people above.

The performance by the band Swollen Members was cut short because of the evacuation.

"It sounds like they had a song that caused the entire group of people to simultaneously jump up and down," Steamboat police Sgt. Nick Bosick said the day after the incident.

The staff began clearing the people from the bars, and police officers and firefighters arrived to assist.

Lupo's reopened after emergency repairs were made to the beam, which split through a knot in its wood.

Fire Chief Bob Struble said Wednesday that a firefighter attempted to count the number of people leaving the bar that night to determine occupancy but stopped to assist with the evacuation.

Feldmann said Levelz sold more than 300 tickets for the show, adding that the club experiences a lot of in-and-out traffic. The staff monitors occupancy carefully, Feldman said.

Struble said it is not possible to determine whether the bar exceeded its posted occupancy of 212.

"The numbers we got that night weren't that accurate, and they were below the occupancy load according to that number," Struble said.

-- To reach Matt Stensland, call 871-4210 or e-mail mstensland@steamboatpilot.com

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