Thursday, March 4, 2010

Gidewon nightclub cleared for Midtown landing

Posted By on Thu, Mar 4, 2010 at 9:18 PM

click to enlarge Michael Gidewon plans to open nightclubs in May
  • Michael Gidewon plans to open nightclubs in May

The first week of May.

That's when Midtowners can expect a still-unnamed — but already notorious — pair of nightclubs to open for business on Peachtree Street across from the Federal Reserve Bank.

Earlier today, the Gidewons, the first family of Atlanta nightlife, won a decisive victory when the city’s Board of Zoning Adjustment denied a request that the issuance of a special administrative permit for the clubs be reconsidered.

Even Peggy Denby, who, as president of the Midtown Ponce Security Alliance, has been one of the Gidewons' most vocal opponent, concedes, "I expect that they'll get to occupy the club space."

The fight over the clubs had simmered for more than a year before the issue erupted last summer in a series of contentious community meetings. Opponents came out in force to criticize the Gidewons' management of their previous Midtown venture, the Vision mega-club, and argue that the new clubs would bring noise, litter and crime to an area that now boasts residential high-rises. An anonymous website was launched to rally opposition and nearly 1,500 people signed an online petition against the clubs.

In the end however, the various local permitting boards agreed that owner Michael Gidewon had satisfied all the legal requirements to open his proposed clubs.

"Every neighborhood group recommended denial, but none of that seemed to count," says Denby. "The License Review Board told us we were the largest opposition crowd they'd ever seen, but they couldn't wait to get us out of there."

The only remaining ammunition opponents have left is a lawsuit filed by former Council candidate Steve Brodie. Although a Fulton County judge declined to issue the temporary restraining order Brodie was seeking, he ordered that Brodie have the opportunity to review the final permits — fire, health and building — when they are issued.

If the clubs do open in May, they will have a built-in clientele — the upscale Lowes Hotel is scheduled to open across 11th Street on April 1.

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

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