Downtown Columbus may get a strip club that some say would thwart the steps being taken to make the area a true neighborhood. The proposed location is the site of a closed nightclub at 205 N. 5th St., several blocks north of Mayor Michael B. Coleman's condominium and about a third of a mile from the new Hills Market.
Downtown Columbus may get a strip club that some say would thwart the steps being taken to make the area a true neighborhood.
The proposed location is the site of a closed nightclub at 205 N. 5th St., several blocks north of Mayor Michael B. Coleman’s condominium and about a third of a mile from the new Hills Market.
Charles Fischer and Tiffany Ranalli will ask the Downtown Commission this morning for a certificate of appropriateness for adult entertainment. The goal is to open what Fischer called a “ more upscale” club with a dress code and membership requirements to “hopefully keep out the riff-raff.” He said he plans to apply for a liquor license and would not have full nudity in the club, which would be the only adult-entertainment establishment Downtown.
“I’m actually trying to attract businessmen, entrepreneurs, young business executives,” he said.
Some Downtown leaders, businesspeople and residents aren’t putting out the welcome mat.
“My observation with these strip clubs is, sooner or later they tend to draw problems,” said Cleve Ricksecker, executive director of the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District, which represents Downtown property owners.
The Downtown Residents Association of Columbus also opposes it. Downtown continues to grow — now at more than 6,200 residents — and the association wants to draw more families with children, said Susan Ungar, the group’s president.
Coleman doesn’t want it, either. “He doesn’t like it as a resident; he doesn’t like it as a mayor,” said his spokesman, Dan Williamson.
Ricksecker plans to ask commission members to table the request “until they fully understand how much discretion they have over the application.”
City code permits adult entertainment in areas zoned for manufacturing, which the Downtown area allows, Assistant City Attorney Josh Cox said.
But Fischer and Ranalli do need a certificate of appropriateness from the Downtown Commission for a manufacturing use.
Daniel J. Thomas, the city’s urban design manager, said the proposal also meets the requirement of being at least 250 feet from a residentially zoned district, but Ricksecker disputes that.“One can argue (that) all of Downtown is a residential use,” Ricksecker said.
The building housed the former Trafik Bar & Nightclub, which catered to the gay community.
Fischer said the new club would be open from 4 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Monday through Friday and from about 6 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Saturday. It would be closed on Sunday.
Zaim Hoxha owns the nearby Warehouse Cafe at 243 N. 5th St. and said those hours don’t conflict with his breakfast and lunch crowds; he closes by 3 p.m. “No concerns,” he said.
Michelle Chippas, who lives at the nearby Neighborhood Launch residential development, is concerned about noise and prostitution the club might bring.
“This is a neighborhood now,” she said. “It’s not the type of thing we want in our community."