Since word of the Clermont Hotel's shaky fate began to circulate over three years ago, the Ponce de Leon landmark has been passed around like a cheap whore - from foreclosure to condemnation to stalled renovation. But it looks like the building could be on the rebound with the announcement of a new owner and plans to redevelop the property into a boutique hotel.
"We are thrilled to have the chance to reimagine the Clermont as a great hotel," new owner Philip Welker, principal of Nashville, New York-based BNA Associates LLC and Clermont Hotel Partners, told Atlanta Commercial Properties E-Newsletter.
However, the new key-holders remain mum on their plans for can-crushing Blondie and the rest of the crew at the storied Clermont Lounge, Atlanta's oldest strip club, which is a tenant of the building.
In a recent interview with the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Ethan Orley of BNA Associates LLC also offered no comment on the future of the lounge, but that didn't stop the Chronicle from speculating on the possibility of change:
They could decide on a major renovation of the lounge. "There's a lot more [about the plans] that we'd like to get out, but it's really not the right time to comment on the Clermont Lounge," Orley told Atlanta Business Chronicle. "I'd rather make a comment when we are ready in the next couple of weeks."
The timing of the announcement comes just a week and a half after the Clermont Lounge was featured on an episode of "Real Housewives of Atlanta." The Saturday after its RHOA debut, the place was packed with first-timers who'd come to gawk at the lounge's senior strippers in the flesh. It was a peculiar case of cross-cultural consumption. In hindsight, it felt like a preview of the kind of gentrified crowd a revamped Clermont Lounge might attract.
Of course, the lounge is no stranger to the limelight. It's been immortalized in pop songs by the likes of rappers Bubba Sparks and Donnis and regularly entertains celebs such as Robert DeNiro, who caught a Falcons game at the bar with Kevin Kline last November.
As for the actual hotel, which has been closed since Dec. 2009, perhaps future stays there won't lead to the kind of mysterious outbreak that once forced former CL writer Scott Henry to check out in search of medical attention.
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