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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gidewon clan to open Midtown nightclub for Halloween

Make it Reign, baby!
  • Courtesy Club Reign
  • Make it Reign, baby!
It won't be Vision. And it won't be SPI, thank God.

No, when the Gidewon brothers finally open the doors of their latest and, already, most controversial nightclub, the name on the marquee will be Club Reign. (Not to be confused with Rain, the hip-hop club in Mechanicsville.)

According to club spokesman Chris Kappy, Reign will open Saturday, Oct. 30, for a Q100-promoted Halloween party. But don't expect too much crunkness. (Crunkiosity? Crunkitude?) "We're not going to go with a huge fanfare to blow the doors off because some of our neighbors are still looking for reasons to get us shut down," Kappy explains. "We're expecting some push-back from the neighborhood."

That's probably a reasonable expectation, to say the least. Since July 2009, when Michael Gidewon filed an application to open a new, 20,000-square-foot club at 1021 Peachtree St. — since divided into separate nightclub and lounge spaces — the "first family of Atlanta nightlife" (as we called them in a cover story last year) was forced to fight several rounds of legal battles against neighboring residents and businesses that wanted to prevent the clubs from opening.

The clubs' opponents used every avenue to wage war against the Gidewons — filing lawsuits and legal challenges; speaking out at public hearings; creating an anonymous, anti-Vision website, www.keepmidtownsafe.com; collecting 1451 signatures on an online petition; writing letters to persuade Mayor Shirley Franklin and other public officials to deny the required permits; and generally bad-mouthing the Gidewons and their previous clubs at every turn.

Still, as long as the Gidewons met all the zoning requirements, their foes could not muster a legally sound argument to stop the clubs from opening. This past March, the final legal hurdle was cleared — but still no word about a grand opening. That's par for the course for the deep-pocketed Gidewons, who'd been sitting on the former Velvet Room site since closing the original Vision in 2006.

In fact, the lack of movement on the club had even fueled rumors in nightlife circles that the Gidewons were trying to pressure the developers behind the ginormous 12th & Midtown condo/office/retail/hotel complex into paying them to walk away from the property.

But now that Reign is poised to debut, Kappy says observers should prepare to be pleasantly surprised by the club's security and clean-up measures. Besides the glass-fronted club building, its formerly run-down parking lot has also been upgraded, he says.

"This site has gone from being an eyesore to a real complement to the Midtown Mile," he adds.

Actually, it should be noted that Halloween won't be the first party to take place in Reign. The club had something of an, um, soft opening this past Friday when it hosted a Pride-themed night, leading some local websites to wonder whether it will cater to a gay audience. It will, but only on Fridays. According to Kappy, the nightclub will be open Thursday-Saturday. On Saturdays, the club will be promoted to a general crowd with a mix of house, techno and rock provided by Q100.

The lounge, on the other hand, will be open every day but Sunday, which each night targeted to a different audience segment.

As for the Halloween opening, Kappy predicts the cover price will start in the $15-20 neighborhood and climb up from there for the VIP and bottle-service crowd.

Get ready for Midtown to get more interesting in a hurry.

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