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Couple Says Philly Wedding Venue Abruptly Shut Down Weeks Before Their Big Day

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- With draped white linen, lights strung and a dreamy vaulted glass ceiling, the Skybox Event Center in Fishtown was a perfect fit for Sara Appleby and Joe Ross, until it wasn't.

"There just wasn't time to be emotional," said Appleby.

Three weeks out from their May 19 nuptials, a text from their wedding coordinator revealed that their dream day had unraveled.

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"She told us that there was a zoning issue and they couldn't hold events anymore," said Appleby. "Of course we found out since then that it had been going on for a while."

Popular Philly Wedding Venue Abruptly Shuts Down Leaving Couple Scrambling Weeks Before Wedding
Credit: CBS3

"Since about 2013 there have been large events held at the building that have created a noise issue, parking issues, safety issues," said Jennifer Bazydlo.

Bazydlo is an attorney who has worked closely with the Fishtown community. Residents have been long concerned, not necessarily with weddings taking place inside of the Skybox at 2424 Studios, but its use as a nightclub. She says that proper, permanent zoning by the host company was never obtained.

"They did have a special assembly license up until 2014 and after that, they didn't have any of the proper licenses," Bazydlo added.

A resident shared video with Eyewitness News that showcased what she felt to be routine late-night chaos caused by the venue.

After failing another attempt to acquire the proper permits, Bazydlo says that's when the venue shut its doors. The number advertised is currently out of service.

"As far as I can tell just from the couple that I talked to is that they had no idea that their venue wasn't properly permitted or zoned," said Bazydlo.

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"We were trying to do it right," said groom-to-be, Joe Ross. "That's why we had a long engagement, trying to make sure that we didn't come out of this in debt."

Well, since booking the Skybox in 2016, the couple says that they have spent $12,000 in deposits.

"We haven't heard back from the owner, so basically half of our wedding savings is now being held where ever it may be," he said.

Calls to Skybox's owner have not been returned.

The couple has reached out to the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office, adding that they are now considering legal action.

As for a venue for their wedding day, the couple tells Eyewitness News that they were lucky to be re-accommodated last-minute by the National Museum of American Jewish History.

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