Voltage nightclub closed 'forever,' owner retains liquor license

A controversial nightclub in Southeast Baltimore has been shut down for good.

The Voltage nightclub opened in 2012 inside what used to be the Baltimore Travel Plaza.

Last month the Board of Liquor License Commissioners for Baltimore City revoked the club's liquor license, after a number of violent incidents there. (VIDEO | Man shot on night club's dance floor )

Now, the “Voltage" sign from the front of the building has been removed, and a much smaller sign on the front door tells patrons and employees that the club will will never open again.

“I would go beyond nuisance and say that it was a threat to public safety, to the citizens of Baltimore,” said Steve Fogleman, the chairman of the liquor board.

Police and local residents detailed several violent incidents including a shooting inside the club, which happened last year.

Days after the club’s license was revoked, a Circuit Court judge issued a stay which allowed Voltage to remain open until its court date in July.

Now the liquor board and the club's owner, Louis Principio, have reached an agreement. Principio will get his license back in return for a promise not to re-open Voltage.

“We decided that in the interest of public safety the best thing to do now is, if he's willing to close his doors forever at Voltage, we're going to let him do that,” Fogleman said.

Principio's attorney said he doesn't believe the club was any less safe than other places where large crowds gather.

“He was trying to provide what he knew; he knew how to put it together, he knew how to assemble it, how to make it attractive. He knew the type of things that people would like to come to,” said the attorney, Melvin Kodenski.

At the July court hearing a judge could have overturned the liquor board's decision, allowing the club to stay open.

By agreeing to close, Principio gets to keep his license -- which Fogleman says he might be able to sell for as much as $50,000 to $75,000.

Principio's attorney admitted he never anticipated the push-back from people who live near the old travel plaza.

“It was thought that where it was initially was away from the communities but it seemed like no matter what he would not be able to satisfy the community behind him,” Kodenski said.

Louis Principio could take his license and use it to open a new club at another location. However, he would have to go back before the liquor board again to do that.

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