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Can neighborhoods and nightclubs coexist in Atlanta?

Vision nightclub in Midtown in 2006, just before it closed. Its owners, Alex and Michael Gidewon, want to open a new club on Peachtree Street. Neighbors oppose it. AJC file photo

What does it mean to have fun in Midtown? What should it mean?

Can neighborhoods and nightclubs coexist?

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A story on the front page of the AJC last weekend described two perspectives so different, it’s hard to believe we’re talking about the same neighborhood.

The first: a $4 million nightclub unlike anything else in the city — “Video screens on the ceiling. Marble-top bar counters. A state-of-the-art fog system.” — a more mature version of a few years ago, when the blocks between 10th and 14th street were filled with high-profile clubs.

The second: a dense residential neighborhood with new condos, offices and restaurants. Families, young professionals, retirees. New, but comfortable. Busy, but quiet.

The first comes with crime and noise, some argue. Other say the second option cuts off the once-popular Midtown club scene, and keeps Atlanta from being anything special.

A plan for a new nightclub along Peachtree Street is turning this disagreement into a fight about what’s best for Atlanta’s most famous street — daily life, or an active nightlife. I wonder, is there anything in between?

From the story published August 29, “Peachtree Street nightclub plan faces fight”:

Opponents say this part of Peachtree is now residential and believe a nightclub will bring fights, shootings and rowdy folk playing loud music from their cars as they cruise along Peachtree Street.

That does not fit with the neighborhood motif, they say, although most condo buildings on Peachtree Street are several blocks south of the proposed site.

“It has no purpose [on Peachtree Street],” area resident and architect Shraddha Sriviastan said during a Midtown Neighbors’ Association license and permit committee meeting Monday. “This is not going to help the development [of Midtown].”

The Gidewons [the club owners] and their supporters counter that Atlanta, particularly this area, needs their brand of refined nightlife. They haven’t figured out what they’re going to call the venues.

“This is going to be a high-end destination,” said Q100 radio personality Jeff Dauler, who’s gotten a peek inside the buildings. “It is a venue appropriate for Peachtree Street … It makes you feel you’ve been somewhere special.”

Here’s an earlier story, too, “Neighbors don’t want a new Vision nightclub.”

Does Atlanta needs more late-night entertainment, and why? Is Midtown the right place for it, or is there a better location? How can neighborhoods and nightlife coexist?

Remember, this is a blog about fun things to do in Atlanta, not a blog about politics or race. Keep your comments focused and respectful. This is obviously a hot topic among some Atlantans, so let’s push the conversation forward.

28 comments Add your comment

Mystory

September 2nd, 2009
9:43 am

The moral of this story is You can’t please everybody. The Gidewons have owned the most popular club in Atlanta in Midtown before and people have complained, the Gidewons will AGAIN own the most popular club in Atlanta, and people will continue to complain. Meanwhile the people who welcomes the new establishment will enjoy it to the fullest so the other people who are unhapppy about it will just have to find a way to deal with the issues as they unfold. Bottom line, end of story. Congrats in advance to the brothers for yet another success, and thanks for all that you do in the community. I’m looking forward to the new venue ;-)

Reality

September 1st, 2009
8:27 am

If this were another gay bar opening in Midtown there would be nothing said. Midtown residents know that gay bars don’t draw people who want to shoot each other, nor do gay bars attract people who want to hang out in parking lots and blast ghetto boom boxes and circle the block wanting to be seen trying to impress others with loud, loud, loud music rattling windows. Gays aren’t people who drive cars that have music arriving two blocks ahead of the car. Gay bars are welcome in Midtown, but hetro bars that attract certain elements are not. It’s just that simple. People, it’s not about how you look. It’s about how you behave. Peace!

Smallbusinessowner

August 31st, 2009
11:37 pm

Dang folks – nobody thinks that there shouldn’t be mega-party, mega-clubs in Atlanta. 12th and Peachtree is just not the appropriate location. The serious taxpayers – homeowners, and small and large businesses have a huge investment in the quality of life in the neighborhood. Most of the patrons of this club (and the owners) won’t give a s**t about Midtown or the people that live and work there. There are a hundred other appropriate locations for this club.

esa

August 31st, 2009
11:10 pm

So if I understand the arguments for the club correctly, Atlanta needs this club because (1) economic growth comes from drunk people who stay out until 4 am and not people who sleep at night and go to work in the morning, (2) people from Alabama will drive to Atlanta attracted by the bright lights and be disappointed with the clubs we have now, and (3) an area dominated by homes and high rise office buildings such as Midtown Atlanta is not a live-work area but an all-night drunken party destination. Now I understand.

Jamie Gumbrecht

August 31st, 2009
11:06 pm

Good discussion so far, folks. Thanks for keeping it respectful and offering up your answers and ideas!

Uncle Tom

August 31st, 2009
11:03 pm

Well, well, well. Thanks to “Pepper” and the snide remark about NeNe (of RHOA), it appears we have our very first color comment of the evening. Now I could say, “why does Midtown need another club that would be a happy hangout spot for the likes of Paris, Britney, or Lindsay,” but why should I?

Uncle Tom

August 31st, 2009
10:54 pm

What the “City” of Atlanta doesn’t need are more hulking condo or condo/hotel buildings. Aren’t there enough shadows looming over the streets during the day? To answer the question(s) at hand however, it seems to me there are enough clubs within the perimeter. And besides, why spend money on capital improvements on a building if you don’t own the building anyway?

Reader

August 31st, 2009
10:32 pm

Don’t get mad. You made that choice to live in a major city. So you have to deal with the noise, the crowd, sometimes the crimes of an urban city. Name one major city that does not have those issues. I’m not saying it’s OKAY. `Name one city that doesn’t have clubs or theaters on it’s main thoroughfare or in the heart of the city.

ATLien

August 31st, 2009
10:30 pm

Well said Kevin. Could not agree more.

Allen

August 31st, 2009
10:27 pm

Atlanta NEEDS this club . . . more than ever. People (read: conventions and those who plan them) go to cities where there is actually something to do . . . something unique . . . Atlanta once had this distinction with 24 hours clubs (something any city of 5 million people should have — this is not supposed to be Mayberry folks). I have friends from Alabama who used to come to Atlanta for a long weekend of entertainment in the South’s capital city who do not come here anymore because we roll up the sidewalks at 2 am. This is an economic decision. Fewer visitors means fewer hotel rooms, less taxes (gasoline, room, liquor); less business for taxi drivers, etc. It should not take a genius to figure out that more entertainment options means more revenue — for EVERYONE! I have lived in Atlanta for over 35 years and I have never seen the nightlife at such a low ebb.

In addition to conventioneers, there are singles; people who work as bartenders, waitresses, who need a place to go after work hours. WE have a young professional workforce that needs social outlets in the central city. People move into the city for the nightlife . . . not for the peace and quiet . . . for that, you can move to the mountains, or perhaps Dacula. Atlanta needs unique entertainment options. Right now, we really have none. For those who do not want to see these type clubs on Peachtree, move back to the suburbs, please. A city is defined by it’s nightlife. When you drive into Atlanta from Alabama on I-20 from Birmingham, for example, and see those bright lights of Atlanta skyscrapers it suggests a “happening place” and literally brings you to life with expectations. . . as it is now, you arrive and realize you are actually in Mayberry — everything is closed. This is not as it should be.

Perspective: I am a retired, professional, 62 year old white male.