Phoenix Nightclub Closure Fits In With City's Vision For Uptown Greenville

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The closure of a nightclub raises the question of what will happen to the location, which is in the middle of a major renovation project for one city.

For more than 10 years, The Phoenix nightclub has been perched on E. 5th Street in Greenville. That's until Thursday when police asked for their liquor license to be revoked. The owners then gave up the license and opted to shutdown immediately.

Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas says, with their revitalization plan, this is just what the Uptown area needed.

"There is an overall strategy around our Uptown area for the past three years," explains the mayor.

That strategy, says Thomas, is to bring in more retail locations and less of the nightlife college student's typically frequent, especially nightclubs. Another club known as The Other Place, just two doors down from The Phoenix, already closed in 2013.

Thomas talks about the city's vision for the area.

"It will always be a viable college atmosphere entertainment-type area, but it will be blended with retail, offices and some of those uses that we've seen right now."

Owners of HardTimes, a nightclub just below The Phoenix, will have a chance to renew their lease in the near future. Thomas says he hopes they will decide to participate in the redevelopment efforts instead.
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Greenville Police Chief Hassan Aden says a Greenville nightclub with a history of police calls has agreed to give up its alcohol permits and shut down.

Aden says the latest incident inside The Phoenix at 209 East 5th Street involved a stabbing this past weekend.

Aden says since 2003, there have been 800 calls to the club costing police $300,000 in resources.

The chief says between August of 2009 and August of 2014 there have been 219 calls for service, 54 arrests, 28 assaults and 27 fights.

Aden says they were granted an injunction against the club and in explaining that to the owner, he agreed to give up his liquor license.

The chief says there is no appeals process and the club has shut down.

Lawyers for the club issued the following statement:

"After more than 6 years of operation, the Phoenix Nightclub surrendered its ABC permits to authorities today. The club will cease operation effective immediately.

The Phoenix filled an important role in providing minority members of the community a nightclub that catered to their individual taste in music and entertainment. Since the day that model went into effect, The Phoenix has been the target of police and local officials and their attempts to shut down the club.

The Phoenix was a leader among bars in Greenville by cooperating with police in doing everything possible to provide a safe environment. It was the first club to do anti gang and gang recognition training with its employees, under the watch of the Greenville Police Department and Alcohol Law Enforcement and Alcoholic Beverage Control officials. The Phoenix regularly employed uniformed off duty police to provide security at the club in an attempt to provide a safe experience for its customers.

When Greenville Police expressed concern about activities outside the club after closing times, The Phoenix installed a sophisticated multi-camera video tape system to monitor and record activity. The Phoenix regularly provided that video evidence to police when it was requested.

The Phoenix has been a convenient target at which to assign blame for many of the criminal acts occurring downtown. However, we are proud of our record of cooperation with the City, and our commitment to being responsible citizens of the downtown community. It is unfortunate that the City is now targeting bar owners in an attempt to eliminate a legitimate business class from being able to operate and earn a living. The Phoenix was first. It will not be the last.

We would like to thank the people of Greenville for your patronage and support through the years.”


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