Above, the relatively sedate corner of West 23rd Street and Eleventh Avenue in West Chelsea. Though the corner itself is bleak, we're just steps from upscale architecture glory, friends—Annabelle Selldorf's car-friendly 200 Eleventh is just up the block, and back down West 23rd, we've got Highline 519 and the insanity that will become HL23. Quite the renaissance for this once down-and-out neighborhood, wouldn't you say?
Which probably explains why the shit is really going to hit the fan tonight as the Sapphire Strip Club applies for a cabaret license on this very corner.
Yep, the fun's going down at the Community Board 4 meeting tonight, when Sapphire tries—for the first time since the fall of 2007—for that precious, sweet cabaret license. And given the threat this kind of establishment could prove to luxury real estate brokers, it's not a huge surprise to find Prudential Douglas Elliman broker (and Luxury Lofter extraordinaire) Hervé Senequier sounding the alarm. An email making the rounds was passed along to us by a tipster:
Subject: URGENT - STRIP CLUB INFO on 23rd st and 11th ave ATTENTION REQUIRED Dear all,
We just found out the following information:
1) the cabaret is applying again for the license at the community board on August 12, 2008 at Westin Hotel, 270 W. 43 St. We need major public representation. Please rally anyone you can. It is our understanding that some city officials received “favors” to approve the license. We need to bond together on this
2) Part of the favors was that the club was supposed to have lost their license because the space wasn’t used for a while but for an obvious reason they were granted an extension
3) We also found out that the club is doing illegal work in the premises and the Department of Building is looking the other way. They are getting ready to open!!!
They are playing dirty. The only way we will win is public noise. Please also call Christine Quinn’s office to ask her to come and support us at the meeting.
Thanks for your involvement in this crucial issue.
Senior Vice President
Prudential Douglas Elliman
Now, the tricky bit here is finding out just where Sapphire aims to open. The Community Board 4 agenda has twin addresses for the club: "182 11th Avenue a/k/a 565 W. 23rd Street." Which pretty much comprises the entire freaking block. World's biggest strip club in the making? Eh, probably not. But should be fun to watch the sparks fly tonight.
· Community Board 4 Agenda [manhattancb4.org] UPDATE: A Curbed operative offers this vital update: "They are planning to go into the space occupied by the former strip club, Privilege, at corner of 23rd and 11th (right next door to 200 Eleventh (the building with the car elevators, which can't make anyone in that building happy). Sapphire Club is based in Vegas (biggest strip club in Las Vegas) and trying to get a presence on the east coast. They have played it exceedingly low key—got the alcohol license under the cover of darkness and tried to do the same with the cabaret license (first approval was scheduled for the week between Christmas and New Years), and now this attempt in the dead of summer. Also lots of accusations by the inhabitants of the seedy Chelsea Inn that occupies the upstairs space of strong arming and other tactics to force people out. If it's anything like the first meeting will be a complete shitshow."