Club Manilla Owner Thinks Club is Safe

The property owner of Club Manilla says despite a shooting outside the bar this week that left five people injured, the establishment is safe.

“If you search the history of the club, we don’t have problems, Fred Schwartz told 10 News on Thursday.

However, police tell a different story of Club Manilla, which is located at 2620 E. 7th Avenue. Since the beginning of this year police say they have had more than 260 calls for service to the venue. With the club only open four nights a week, that averages out to more than one call a night.

“This (shooting) is the first time we’ve has a major violent incident and the three things that we look at to determine if this is a problem club is the number of calls for service, do we have a large number of complaints and do they have a history of violent incidents. Well now they meet that threshold, they meet all three with this incident,” Tampa Police Spokesperson Laura McElroy said.

Thursday, council member Frank Reddick formally asked Tampa Police to come back with a detailed report on calls for service to Club Manilla. He also asked for a report from the Fire Marshall’s office and the city attorney to determine if the city needs to take some type of action against Club Manilla.

Those reports are scheduled to be delivered to council members on November 17.

Also on Thursday, council members decided to hold a special workshop in January to discuss the permitting, compliance and enforcement of alcohol licenses in the city.

Council member Harry Cohen suggested it might be time to look at forcing clubs that allow 18-year-old inside to close earlier.

Schwartz said he is afraid Club Manilla will either be forced to close or his business will decline in wake of this week’s shooting. “Of course I’m concerned,” he said.

Yet community activist Michelle Williams, who recently campaigned to close Ybor City’s Club Empire, says that’s exactly what she wants. Williams insists she will work to get the club closed by Thanksgiving.

“It needs to close. This is round one for me and I got 13 more days,” she said.

10 News