JWU buys former nightclub for $1.6 million

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Johnson & Wales University has completed its purchase of a Providence nightclub that was closed in the wake of a non-fatal shooting early last year.

The school announced Tuesday it paid $1.6 million for the two-story building once known as Club Karma and the adjacent parking lot, saying it could be used for either classrooms or student life services.

“As the university continues to expand its academic programming, we have a growing need to add classrooms, administrative offices and student services,” Marie Bernardo Sousa, JWU senior vice president of administration, said in a statement.

The Richmond Street building is located within walking distance of many of the university’s facilities, including the JWU Parking Garage, according to Sousa.

Club Karma lost its liquor license in February of 2014, about three weeks after a shooting inside sent two men to the hospital. Then-owner Gianfranco Marrocco announced plans to sell Karma and other nightclubs he owned just days after the shooting, saying it had nothing to do with that particular incident, but rather a general loss of interest in the business.

JWU said Karma’s owners, Richmond and Friendship, LLC, approached school officials to gauge their interest in buying the property earlier this year.

The purchase and sales agreement was completed Oct. 31.

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