WJTV News Channel 12 - Gay club seeks new location after displacement

Gay club seeks new location after displacement

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -
A decades-old Greenville gay bar, once a popular party spot is now gone. The new 10th street connector project forced the Limelight to shut down to make way for the road. While the gay community waits for the new club to open up the owners find themselves facing a new challenge.

Some in the gay community feel the city's blocking the new club because it's a gay club, but the city says that's not the case.

Jeremy Jordan, the co-owner of Limelight, Greenville's only gay dance club plans to re-open the club at its proposed new location.
“After searching well over 2 years, this property came up and it seems perfect,” Jordan said. He and his partners have their eyes set on the old Greenville Produce Company building. It is located just outside downtown. Built in 1910 and in the heart of the historic tobacco district, Jordan says a club like Limelight will help bring new life to an old neighborhood.

“This is an area I would say is in transition. This is actually part of the Dickenson Avenue corridor, which has been talked about as an arts and entertainment district for the last several years and we want to be a part of that,” Jordan said. 

The club applied for a variance and special use permit. The Greenville Board of Adjustment denied those permits at their January meeting. Tom Weitnauer, Chief Planner for the Community Development Department, says “They (Limelight) applied for a variance and special use permit. It didn't meet the statutory requirements and findings of fact and the board of adjustment denied the application.”

Those requirements involve a matter of feet. A house on Washington Street is standing in the way of Limelight from opening. The two story house is within 500 ft of the proposed club. 

Jordan says they are looking at options. One of them is to ask the owner of the house to rezone his property. The other is to ask the city council to change the ordinance.
     
Jordan says the building's owner already promised his partners $200,000-250,000 in renovations, something a potential business neighbor says is a good thing.

“I think it would be fine. Anything you can do with that building to bring people here and make it a nicer building would be great.” Andy Denton said. 
9 On Your Side spoke to other neighbors. Some businesses, others are churches. They say they don't want a gay club in their neighborhood. They chose not to go on camera.

As for Jordan, he says his partners are working with the homeowner to reach an agreement that helps them meet the requirement.
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