THE former Chicago’s bar in Stourbridge where popular footballer Ryan Passey was tragically stabbed to death two years ago is to be turned into a new nightspot.

Justice for Ryan campaigners revealed the news in a Facebook post and they said in a statement: “We have been assured the new owners are not connected with the previous owners and they made contact with us and the family a few weeks ago to discuss their plans for the building.”

The unit in the Ryemarket, which has become a shrine to 24-year-old Ryan who was stabbed in the chest inside the venue in August 2017, is to be converted into a new night-time venue called Soda Lounge.

Halesowen News: Ryan Passey, aged 24, who died after being stabbed in the chest at Chicago's in Stourbridge on August 6, 2017.Ryan Passey, aged 24, who died after being stabbed in the chest at Chicago's in Stourbridge on August 6, 2017.

The owners of the venture currently run a successful bar in Cardiff, described as one of the city’s number one nightlife spots, and they say they “hope to bring a casual dining experience to the day time as well as a vibrant bar to the evening”.

They have stressed they are aware of the venue’s history and they aim to ensure they deliver a safe and welcoming environment.

Jason Connon, from the Justice for Ryan campaign, said the building would always be remembered as the place where Ryan lost his life and in a statement he said: “In our discussions with the new owners we have asked them to respect Ryan’s memory and the family’s wishes not to include a dance floor and we have also requested that they operate and maintain strict security and safety checks for all customers. We would not want any other family to lose their loved one as we did.

“We have also requested that a permanent memorial plaque be installed outside the building, so people can still remember Ryan and lay flowers, candles etc on special occasions such as his birthday, Christmas etc.

“We would of course have preferred that the building be used for more community or charity purposes, something that would impact positively on our local community.”

He added: “Ultimately, we understand that one person is responsible for Ryan’s death - and that is the person who stabbed him.”

But he continued: “I can’t ever see us being in a position where we would ever set foot in the building. It will be down to individuals to choose if they wish to attend the new venue or not.”

He stressed, however, that the family would not want to see any new business in the town fail and he added: “We do not hold any grudge against the new owners, but we will always find it difficult and painful seeing any type of bar or club reopen on this site, given we are still fighting for Justice For Ryan.”