The owner of the building in which Loca Luna resides pulled the lease early on the longtime Virginia-Highland tapas restaurant following a shooting in the parking lot Sunday evening, CBS46 reports.
Halpern Enterprises, the owner of retail and dining complex Amsterdam Walk on the edge of Piedmont Park and the Virginia-Highland neighborhood, allegedly evicted the restaurant from the property effective immediately after a fight between two women in the parking lot led to a shooting around 10:45 p.m. on January 23. In a statement, the company cited the “safety and well-being of our patrons and tenants” as the reason for the decision to terminate the lease early.
“We strive to be a positive force in each community where we conduct business. We have worked with the owners of Loca Luna in good faith regarding prior incidences at their restaurant,” the statement sent to Eater reads. “Unfortunately, the unlawful activity has continued. Effective immediately, 1/24/2022, Halpern Enterprises has terminated the lease agreement with Loca Luna at Amsterdam Walk and have asked the owners to cease operations and remove their possessions.”
Sunday night’s incident was caught on video and shows people running for cover in the parking lot of Loca Luna. Reports indicate at least a dozen shots were fired, striking two parked cars. Minutes later, a person was discovered shot in the leg at a nearby gas station on Piedmont Avenue. Police believe the gunshot victim at the gas station could be linked to the incident at Loca Luna.
No arrests have been made in the shooting.
This is the third shooting to occur outside the Amsterdam Walk restaurant in less than a year. A woman was shot in the foot last March while dining on the patio at Loca Luna. She reported hearing a single gunshot being fired, but did not witness an altercation at the time. Then, in October, a man was shot and killed in the parking lot of the restaurant following an argument after the victim apparently found the suspect leaning against his sports car.
Representatives for Loca Luna have yet to return a request for comment on the eviction at Amsterdam Walk. Eater reached back out to Halpern Enterprises to inquire about the nature of the past issues and “unlawful activity” mentioned in the provided statement and whether these incidences also factored into the final decision by the company to cancel the lease.
Beyond its mojito bar and tapas menu, Loca Luna is known for dancing and hosting live bands playing salsa and Latin music, shifting to more of a nightclub vibe in the evenings.
Guac y Margys opened a second location of its Eastside Beltline margarita bar at Amsterdam Walk last summer, taking over longtime, gay-friendly bar and restaurant Amsterdam Cafe at the complex. Amsterdam Walk is also home to cafe and takeout window Sean’s Harvest Market.
Update, January 25, 11:25 a.m.: This story was updated with comments from Halpern Enterprises.