After responding to a series of boisterous parties characterized by out-of-town, late-night revelers, police shut down an illegal underground club in the Iron Triangle known as the “Bee Hive.”
The illegal parties and discovery of both fire and municipal code violations prompted the Richmond Code Enforcement Unit to board up the windows and “red tag” the building. A crimson sign posted on the front door states that the area is unsafe, and anyone entering the building without police or fire escort is subject to arrest.
Richmond Police Department Detective Nicole Abetkov said individuals from around the Bay Area — many of them underage — flocked to the illegal night club located across from the Nevin Center.
“The Iron Triangle is one of the most violent areas in the city,” she said. “A guy was just shot at the corner of 5th [outside the Nevin Center] in broad daylight while kids were playing basketball in the park nearby.”
Officers first responded to a public noise complaint on August 28. Abetkov said music was audible from over a block away and police saw more than 20 people outside dressed in swim suits, mini skirts and tube tops.
“We realized that it was a foam party, also known as an underground rave,” Abetkov said.
Foam parties are characterized by machines that envelop dance floors in bubbles.
Police found more than 200 celebrants crowded inside the house, which has a maximum capacity of around 20 people. There were no safe exits, the front door was locked and an armed security guard was caught in the process of padlocking the back gate. Richmond Fire Dept. had to be contacted to force entrances open.
The host, a local named Bryan Jackson, tried to leave the premises by car, but was stopped and questioned by authorities. Officers discovered that party attendees were charged $15 at the door.
As of press time, no contact information for Jackson could be obtained and he has not been formally charged with any crime.
Since the initial bust, police have received a number of calls complaining that Jackson was setting up for another party.
Promotional flyers for the Bee Hive note that the “brand new club” hosts hip hop/R&B nights on Saturdays and open mic nights on Fridays. A Facebook page created for “The Bee Hive” calls the location a local business and ReverbNation.com said there was an 18+ party scheduled for 8 p.m. at the “BeeHive UltraLounge” Wednesday night.
Neither the building owner nor Jackson had the proper permits to hold club events, Abetkov said. However, on September 6, Jackson did apply for a church permit, calling his operation the “Nu Faith Fellowship.”
“The fact that he was applying for a church permit should be upsetting to the faith-based community,” Abetkov said. “It’s a community concern and it should be a community concern.”
But now that Code Enforcement officially red tagged the building, it seems unlikely that anyone will attend parties at 512 MacDonald in the near future — among the code violations were serious electrical problems and raw sewage in the bathroom.
Because many of the attendees of the August 28 event appeared to be youth from nearby cities, Abetkov said she hopes parents will be more mindful of the parties their teens attend.
“We have young people coming into an area they are not familiar with that happens to be one of the highest crime areas in the city,” she said. “And the fact that they are walking around late at night dressed in clothing that is very revealing makes them subject to a huge array of crimes.”