Owner James Gaston said Wednesday he has reached a point where he is not sure the project is worth pursuing anymore.
"My dream is to open a jazz cafe. I love jazz music. But now I'm in a place where I feel like I have to decide if I even want to anymore," he said.
Gaston's frustration is the result of an apparent lack of understanding between two governmental bodies in Bloomington.
The liquor commission has twice approved his business model for the planned Gat's Jazz Cafe in the 400 block of S. Main St.
But the city council has pushed the issue off every time it has come up for consideration.
"It's like no one is on the same page," Gaston said. "How is a business supposed to succeed if they don't even know what they want to do?"
Some aldermen believe downtown Bloomington is already too bar heavy.
Others think the cafe requires a new kind of liquor license that's entertainment driven, as opposed to a restaurant or a tavern license.
Gaston said the city has been talking about some of the same issues for far too long.
"I remember them saying there were too many bars 20, 25 years ago. Then they put a moratorium on bars in the 500 and 600 blocks of Main St. I am in the 400 block, so what's the deal," he said.
Meanwhile, Gaston said he is out at least $15,000 in rent, legal fees and equipment he has bought for the establishment.
He said, "I'm out all this money while they do nothing. I can't move forward because they might not approve me in the long run. It's like I'm stuck."
When asked why Gaston thinks his project is caught in so much red tape while other businesses open downtown, he said aldermen don't trust him.
"They don't believe me when I tell them I want a jazz cafe. They think I'm going to tell them that then I'm going to come down here and have a hip hop club. I think that's what they really think," he said.
Gaston has even gone as far as to talk to Normal about opening in the Uptown area, but said he didn't find the right space.
He said he broke his silence to the media because he no longer feels like it matters. He said he stayed quiet before to help his chances.
"Obviously that didn't work," he said.
If Gaston doesn't throw in the towel, aldermen are set to consider the issue again October 22.