UPDATED: Businesses Opposed to Exchange Street Club; Applicant May Not Meet Requirements


Marks Place, 416 Fore Street, is Owned by Mark Dean, Portland.

Jonathan Cohen at a Recent City Council Meeting.  He’s The Financier  for Mark Dean Businesses  His Family Owned Portland Glass Co.

“We don’t need another bar in the Old Port,” said Rod Joslyn, owner of Pandemonium, on Exchange Street this afternoon.   “I get broken windows every year from the rowdy people leaving bars in the Old Port. I hear there are going to be a lot of people attending the city council meeting on Monday evening.  That’s the word on the street,” Joslyn said.

That’s because a lot of people are  opposed to the Exchange Street Club – proposed by Mark Dean for Ten Exchange Street – a storefront owned by controversial landlord Joe Soley and financed  by Jonathan Cohen, developer of the new WEX headquarters on the waterfront and the Ten Exchange Street condominiums above the proposed Club.

The issuance of a Class A Lounge license with Entertainment and Dance approval for the Exchange Street Club is on the City Council agenda for Monday, October 2, 2017.  The location was previously home to the Movies on Exchange Street and The Purple Caterpillar.  It appears that nine (9) of the condominium units on the upper floors of the building are still for sale and that seven (7) sales are pending.  The others have been sold.

It seems to be more than just another bar in the Old Port that business owners on Exchange Street are opposed to.   “It’s wierd.  Why is anyone talking about this now?  Oh.  Oh.  Maybe it’s because of my past,” said Dean late today in a short telephone conversation when told that many business owners were opposed to his bar in the Old Port.

Dean, a Bangor native, was referring to the fact that roughly 20 years ago, he set up and owned Mark’s Showplace, Westbrook, a strip joint.  Later, the strip joint was sold  and became  PT’s, which it is today.

“My girls are dressed to meet city ordinances,” Dean said.  That may be so, but his application is certainly pushing the boundaries of in fact several city ordinances.  According to a former employee of Dean’s, women were encouraged to wear belly shirts, tights, heels and short shorts.  “We were encouraged to get on bar tops and dance around poles,” she said.  Despite warnings from the City, Dean was fined for wet T-shirt contests, although he did not respond to an intended question on the subject because he hung up before the question was asked.

Another consideration for the City Council on Monday evening is whether or not to grant a Class A license to Ten Exchange Street is that Bill Zolper, d/a/a B. Good Foods, across Exchange Street, has the same license.  There are restrictions on just how close two businesses with the same license can co-exist.  A fact that could permit the city to deny the license to Ten Exchange Street – even though Mark Dean is expected to argue that the main entrance to the Exchange Street Club is on the other side of the building – not Exchange Street. This blogger did not get a chance to address this issue with Dean, either, because:

“You better get this right or you are in trouble,” Dean said.  Then he hung up.

Please see previous post herein for more background information on the controversy over the Exchange Street Club.

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