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Fred Meyer shuts down teen club

Lease cancelled on old Ernst building after neighboring retailer complained

Vibes has run into another roadblock, closing its doors for the second time in three months.

The 21-and-under dance club was closed Friday and Saturday and will stay closed indefinitely after its lease on the former Ernst Home Center building was cancelled.

Vibes founders Tom Cole and Mike Keating said TRF Pacific Real Estate, which manages the center, ended the lease after complaints from Fred Meyer, whose South Gateway store is next to the dance club.

Fred Meyer has demanded that TRF terminate the lease, Keating said Monday. We think that is unfair and based on erroneous information.

Vibes had been leasing the 56,000-square-foot building since early November on a week-to-week basis. TRF refused to let Vibes renew that lease last week. Bob Kaczor, TRF's president, could not be reached Monday.

But both Keating and Fred Meyer say that decision was based on a 1992 agreement among property owners, the developer and the Medford Urban Renewal Agency restricting certain uses.

A statement from Fred Meyer said the restrictions prohibit dance halls and other uses deemed incompatible with a retail shopping environment.

Keating and Cole said Fred Meyer's objections center on one incident that occurred Nov. 13, the first night they opened at the new location.

They say a young man, who they aren't sure was even at Vibes, urinated behind the store and was spotted by a Fred Meyer employee, who called police.

There were multiple incidents but that's not the reason for the position we've taken, said Fred Meyer spokesman Rob Boley. The primary reason is the restrictions of use on that property.

Keating and Cole said they are willing to address Fred Meyer's concerns and wrote in a letter to the company:

Our proposal to Fred Meyer Corp. is simply this: Allow us to hold our event, then each week review our operation. If after review, your company feels that Vibes services have created a negative impact on your operation, we will immediately discontinue our events.

If it's a problem we can't control, Cole said, we'll leave. All we're asking for is a fair chance.

We have broad-based community support, Keating said, citing Medford police and public officials including County Commissioner Sue Kupillas. That information has been given to the Fred Meyer corporate people. We are just hoping they'll reconsider.

Keating said Monday that he was still trying to work out an arrangement with Fred Meyer to reopen the club.

Vibes was open only seven nights at the South Gateway location, closing Dec. 6 because of a snow storm and last weekend because of the lease dispute. The club was open for five months at Sweet Acres Country Barn, on Jacksonville Highway just outside of Medford, before closing in October and moving.