WARREN - A woman who ran a Mexican restaurant in the Cleveland area appears to have an interest in doing the same in the building of the former Sunset Lounge.
Documents filed with the Ohio Secretary of State show that Margaret Fernandez provided the address of 480 E. Market St., where the now-closed bar once operated, when she incorporated Rodrigo's Mexican Bar and Grill on April 12.
Other documents with the state show Fernandez ran Rodrigo's Mexican Food that had a post office box in South Euclid.
Attorney Gil Blair, who represents building owner Joe Sankey Jr., said he doesn't know why the former lounge's address was used to organize a business, but ''has that group expressed an interest in opening a restaurant? The answer is yes. Going beyond that, is Mr. Sankey interested in selling the building? He is.
''There have been discussions, but there is not a deal in place,'' Blair said. ''I would say that they are not the only party that expressed an interest in the property.''
Chris Taneyhill, building official in Warren, and Mark Roberts, foods program coordinator for the health department in Warren, said they have not received occupancy permit or food service permit applications for the East Market Street building.
A telephone number for Rodrigo's Mexican Food in Richmond Heights was disconnected.
The Sunset Lounge has been closed since early January, when a 25-year-old Warren man was shot and killed there during a New Year celebration. Sankey voluntarily closed the bar a few days later as part of an agreement with Warren, which had been trying to have the bar's liquor license renewal blocked. The agreement also held off an effort by the city from seeking a nuisance action against the bar.
As part of the agreement, Sankey had to give his liquor license to the state to be kept in what's called ''temporary closing authority,'' which lets the license holder stop operating for up to 180 days. The 180 days in the Sunset Lounge instance ends July 1.
Matt Mullins, a spokesman for Ohio Division of Liquor Control, said a permit can be transferred while it's in temporary closing, but a transfer application hasn't been made. Also, there has been no request to remove the license from temporary closing.
Meanwhile, the city was unsuccessful in its try to block the nonrenewal of the liquor permit held by Blue Magoo's LLC, which operated the Sunset Lounge. An appeal was filed with the Ohio Liquor Control Commission on May 1. A hearing date on that appeal has not been set.