At the corner of Eleventh Avenue and West 23rd Street, the explosive plan to open a branch of Las Vegas' Sapphire Strip Club thickens! Special Curbed correspondent Paul Caine hit up the Community Board 4 meeting last night, and though the vote on the club's cabaret license was delayed, Caine coaxed Sapphire developer Jeffrey Wasserman into dropping this bomb: "We're gonna create a beautiful corner." Er, what exactly does Wasserman have in mind? Per one of his associates, with whom Caine also spoke: "This isn't just a strip club. We want to put in a 15-story hotel, like Ian Schrager-style, with a beautiful view of Jersey." And as for that whole naked women thing? Associate: "You can't see into the place, and you won't even know what it is except for the well-dressed doorman standing outside." Sounds like it'll blend in perfectly with 200 Eleventh just up the block!
Special Curbed correspondent Paul Caine reports:
Another community board meeting, another delay for the Sapphire Club in obtaining a coveted cabaret license. The potential "gentleman's club"/West Chelsea lighting bolt has been held back for almost a year, and last night's meeting of the Business Licenses & Permits Committee all but ensured that it'll stay in limbo for at least another month. At issue this time was the status of renovations taking place on the premises— renovations that may be taking place without Department of Buildings approval.
Where were the D.O.B. permits? It seemed a valid question, since illegal construction isn't the best way to win favor with the community board (c.f. Studio B). Developer Jeffrey Wasserman said plans had been submitted with the D.O.B., and that although he didn't have them at the moment, he'd be happy to bring them to the committee at a later date. A committee member got right to the point: "We can't make a decision about the cabaret license if the construction isn't approved. How about you come back next month with the plans?" With visible irritation, Wasserman accepted the offer.
After this thoroughly anticlimactic nondecision, committee co-chair Lisa Daglian opened the floor to comments. There weren't many; a couple of people delivered polite, "this is a family neighborhood"-type arguments, and another guy got a little more aggressive, accusing Wasserman of receiving the club's liquor license "under the cover of darkness." He went on for a little while, actually, declaring the strip club a "fait accompli" and pointedly asking Wasserman about the club's purported benefits to the community. Wasserman, ahem, chose not to answer the question. —Paul Caine
· Sapphire Strip Club Threatens West Chelsea Renaissance! [Curbed]