By John Schaffner
Jonathan Clay and partner John Frasier went back to Neighborhood Planning Unit B on April 7 to make the case for opening a nightclub at the former site of the notorious Gold Club adult entertainment club, 2416 Piedmont Road.
This time, instead of being rebuked and sent on their way, Clay and Frasier got the approval of their liquor license application from the NPU-B board and a verbal pat on the back for reaching out to the immediate neighborhood, developers of the adjacent mixed-use developments, MARTA and NPU officials.
In addition, NPU-B Chairman Jeff Shell and Transportation & Development Committee Chairwoman Sally Silver pointed out that the two investors had deferred their meeting before the city’s License Review Board (LRB), which was to have taken place April 7, in order to return and attempt to sway the NPU to support their application first.
Clay did most of the presentation to the NPU board on behalf of F&C Buckhead, the partnership that seeks to operate an upscale lounge/nightclub at the former Gold Club site. The unnamed nightclub would not serve food, only beer, wine and mixed drinks.
Although Clay has no experience operating a lounge or restaurant, Frasier for almost two years has operated the Via restaurant in the Eclipse condominium on Pharr Road in Buckhead.
Frasier is associated with the Loudermilk family and Buckhead property owner George Rohrig in Cartel Properties. Clay has worked with two large investment banks for eight years, has an equipment leasing business and is starting another financial business. Both live at 2828 Peachtree Road in Buckhead.
Members of the NPU committee and board had wanted to know who the experienced manager would be for the nightclub, had questions about parking and traffic control, and voiced other concerns related to the reputation of the Gold Club.
Clay explained that the opening of the nightclub is three to four months away because a considerable amount of work must be done to the facility and the parking lot. He said they have not settled on a name .
While Clay still did not name the managers for the nightclub — he did not want to jeopardize their present work relationships — he said one is a manager with a large Atlanta restaurant group and the other with a midsize local restaurant group.
Clay said a security force led by former Atlanta police personnel and including off-duty police has been engaged to work with the organization in establishing internal club controls, as well as parking and traffic controls. He said only people 21 and older will beadmitted, and everyone will be carded.
Clay said he did not expect to receive letters of support from the neighboring Peachtree Hills Civic Association (PHCA), MARTA and the adjacent mixed-use developments, but he said the meetings with all of those neighbors, resulted in an “acceptance” of the club’s planned operations.