Canopy owner lacks building permit, licenses for food and drink, alcohol, place of assembly

Owner Austin Carl still needs to get licensing for several things before he can operate the business he is proposing

MADISON, Wis.– Following last Friday’s confusion over the opening of the new Canopy venue, owner Austin Carl isn’t just lacking an alcohol license. An open records request found that Carl also lacks licenses for food and drink, place of assembly and a building permit.

Madison Fire Marshal Ed Ruckriegel said Carl has not applied for a place of assembly license and has 30 days to do so. However, Ruckriegel said the place of assembly license is not pertinent to Canopy opening as long as the building passes a fire inspection, which it has.

Ruckriegel said upon inspection, which was completed last Thursday, Carl still needs to fix an expired carbon monoxide system, service the fire extinguishers and fix several emergency lights.

Madison building inspection supervisor Kyle Bunnow said Carl has not applied for a building permit either. Bunnow said he received a complaint during the soft opening last Friday that construction work was being done to alter the structure of the building, which is not allowed without a permit.

Bunnow said he has tried calling Carl and showed up to Canopy in person, but has not heard back and was not able to get in the building.

Bunnow said he is attempting to get into the building as soon as possible to verify the complaint.

“Anytime we go to a property, if we find that there’s un-permitted work that’s done, we are going to evaluate a couple of things,” Bunnow said. “We are going to evaluate the scope of what was done, we are going to evaluate how it will impact individuals, and then we are going to take appropriate actions.”

Although Bunnow has not been able to substantiate the claim, Public Health of Madison and Dane County said they have not approved a food and drink license to Carl because of the ongoing construction work happening in the kitchen.

Carl also mentioned at the January 15 Alcohol License Review Committee meeting that he had plans to make structural changes, but did not indicate whether those changes had already been made.

“This also includes the erection of a couple of walls that will further create a barrier to prevent the escape of the sound from the main dance floor area,” Carl said at the meeting.

Bunnow said without a building permit, Carl cannot make any changes to the building that would alter the structure.

“An architect or engineer would need to bring forward plans that would dictate how the building is going to change,” Bunnow said. “We would review them to make sure that the building code. Then, we would permit them and follow up to make sure they are done in a code-compliant manner.”

It is still unclear to many city officials what the proposed business plans are for Canopy. There have been conversations around it opening as a cafe, restaurant and bar, lounge and nightclub. According to the Canopy Facebook page, the venue will be open for private events only.

Carl is expected to present a revised business plan at the next ALRC meeting next month.

News 3 Now has attempted to reach out to Carl for comment to respond but he has not returned our messages.