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Codes, fire or otherwise, are minimal requirements.
They're no substitute for going the extra safety mile.
"Grandfathering" is a concept as outdated
As The Word "Gramps!"!"
Grandfather Clause
(Law Dictionary / Gifis / 2nd Ed)
Provisions allowing persons, engaged in a certain business before the passage of an act regulating that business, to receive a license or prerogrative without meeting all the criteria that new entrants in the field would have to fulfill.

The concept of "grandfathering" club owners' wealth (i.e. not requiring the current owners to implement the latest codes... fire, health, safety, or otherwise) at the cost of imperiling the patrons who generate that wealth is unacceptable social policy, economically unfounded, and morally bankrupt.

Not person would abstain from seeing a band for the reason that a beer was going to be $.25 cents more, or that the cover was going to be a little more in order to re-establish an owner's profit margin while paying for legislated "betterments."

Like it or not, one must pay for a sewer betterment even if one doesn't hook up to the system.  And, with the betterment, one has no one but themselves to fund the cost, even if one doesn't hook-up to the sewer system!

So, in an area where concert tickets range into the hundred / thousands of dollars, its a specious argument to justify grandfathering based on economic hardship.

Additionally, since the law would apply equally, no owner would benefit over the other. In short, the playing field would remain level, BUT ON A MUCH SAFER PLANE.

In the end, the customer always pays.  Because the lack of of responsible fire codes and grandfathering, the patrons at The Station paid with their lives. 

The concept of "grandfathering" is insane for any place that serves the public.  What the concept really states is that out-of-current code violations will remain until the building changes ownership. And of course if the building is in a family/real estate trust, this could be a very long time. The bottom line... grandfathering protects the owners from financial hardship at the cost to the public from which they profit. This is a "sick" social policy!
Here's an example of this sickness -- in a less lethal way (perhaps):
My friend acquired a historic inn with an old kitchen that cost him many thousand dollars to improve in order to bring the kitchen up to health codes for an occupancy permit. Oh, the old problems were real and important... paint peeling from the ceiling and walls... a floor missing in a refrigerator... sinks not having a rinse well, etc.
BUT WAIT A MINUTE! Had I frequented the restaurant just before the transfer of ownership, I could have had paint (perhaps leaded) in my food with who knows what emanating from the refigerator floor.
Until there was a change in ownership, the previous owners had been protected by grandfathered codes.
So, the next time you "gets into something bad" dining out, don't be so quick to blame the food; the culprit might be the kitchen through which the food was prepared... not the ocean from which it came.