Muzik nightclub owner, Zlatko Starkovski, is slowly getting his wish to move away from hosting nightclub parties to more family-friendly events.
In a motion approved by Exhibition Place board of governors meeting held late Friday afternoon, the board gave Muzik nightclub’s owner permission to host a maximum of 30 banquets a year, but voted to keep exclusive rights to host trade shows.
“It feels good. We’re growing as a business and we’re changing to a new direction now and we’re looking forward to it,” Starkovski told The Villager after the motion passed.
“We’ve been very flexible and this is what we’ve wanted, for them to make a decision for a while and today it happened. So now we can start veering off into the banquet world and hosting different events.”
The move to allow tradeshows and consumer shows would have cost the city anywhere from $193,000 to $775,000 annually. However, Muzik can still request permission from the board to host trade shows as long as they don’t conflict with other trade shows happening on the property.
With this passed motion, the board has amended Muzik’s current lease, which is still being looked at by council to be extended past 2024.
Not every board member was on board for this decision.
“There’s nothing in this that gets the board anything. This allows the leasee to do something more, to his financial benefit, and we don’t get a damn thing,” said Ward 19 Trinity-Spadina Councillor Mike Layton.
The decision also impacts Liberty Grand, a popular banquet hall on Exhibition grounds.
Both Muzik and Liberty Grand president and CEO Nick Di Donato, who didn’t agree with the board’s decision from a business owner’s perspective, came together to agree on the number of banquets Starkovski could host, and it was a tough decision.
“It seemed like the board wanted this, so as a cooperative tenant and someone who wants to work together rather than fight, we came to a threshold and said, well if you’re going to allow banquets let’s determine a number that makes sense,” Di Donato told The Villager.
Liberty Grand hosts a minimum of roughly 150 to 200 banquets a year, Di Donato added. Conceding to allow Muzik to host 30 was the least detrimental to Di Donato’s business.
“This is the threshold we can live with and still be profitable,” he added.
“It’s not that we like it (giving up 30 banquets a year). We don’t think it’s the appropriate decision, but in an effort to cooperate with the board and be a good tenant as we have been for many years.”
According to Starkovski, the move toward less club events is due to the board of governors explicit request for him to not host a certain event this year, namely the OVO Fest after party by Toronto-born rapper Drake that left two people dead and another three injured in 2015.
He said the board has issues with him hosting the event and he’s chosen not to do it, but that’s not to say more aren’t planned for the party venue.
On Saturday, June 18, Muzik will host a grand opening party with pop singer Nick Jonas to kick off the nightclub’s ‘Playboy Sundays’ series for the summer.
“Until they say fully, hey, you’re a banquet hall. We’re far from running a business like that.
“You don’t make that much money running a banquet, so it’s just going to offset, maybe not even, the events we’re not going to be doing,” he said.
The board collectively agreed that allowing Muzik to host some banquets would be a better alternative to nightclub events, but to Layton the concession seemed one-sided.
“There’s no reason why they can’t host a nightclub event after a banquet,” he said. “There’s nothing stopping him.”