Three Sandy Springs strip clubs closed in September 2018 after losing a court battle that allowed the city to shut them down. Since then, despite proposals, the three buildings remain vacant with no redevelopment plans in sight.
The city’s 12-year fight against sex shops and strip clubs left only one store selling adult entertainment items open within city limits, Love Shack located at 5674 Roswell Road. All strip clubs have closed.
The legal battle was controversial among residents, some favoring crackdown and some saying that businesses should be left alone. The city claimed the businesses generated crime as the main reason to shut them down. Twenty months after their closure, the city and the police department could not immediately say whether there was any measurable decrease in crime in the area, saying open records requests would be needed to find such information.
Meanwhile, the strip clubs have yet to be replaced by new businesses and employers.
Although the properties are privately owned, Mayor Rusty Paul said redevelopment in the city can be difficult due to rising construction costs.
“What’s delaying a lot of the redevelopment is simply the cost of construction,” Paul said. “It’s as high as it’s ever been and that’s discouraging a lot of redevelopment right now.”
Doll House and Coronet Club
The Doll House and Coronet Club was a single business located at 5275 Roswell Road.
The building is currently zoned as “Office Neighborhood” in the development code, which is intended for office and related commercial uses.
In December 2018, developer Stephen Pistorius shared a plan to build an assisted living facility in the vacant building. Nearby residents shared concerns about the use and potential increased traffic the development could bring.
Pistorius needed a zoning change to a character area that allows that use. The property’s character area was changed from commercial to “Neighborhood Village,” which allows for office uses, during the city’s development code update in 2018.
The proposal was set to be heard by the Planning Commission in March 2019, but Pistorius withdrew the rezoning request before the meeting. Pistorius did not respond to a comment request about any updates on the property.
Flashers was located at 6420 Roswell Road.
The building is currently zoned as commercial mixed-use in the development code, which is allows a variety of retail, service and commercial uses, as well as multiunit residences.
The property is owned by Evans Roswell Properties, LLC, according to Fulton County records. The company could not be reached for comment.
On Jan. 1, the former strip club caught fire. No one was in the building and no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire still is under investigation. Redevelopment plans have not been announced.
The owners of the business Flashers are in the midst of a lawsuit against the city for a 2016 raid. According to Cary Wiggins, Flasher’s attorney, the city filed a motion to dismiss the case and on Dec. 18, the judge denied the city’s request.
“So the case moves on,” Wiggins said.
Next to Flashers is another property that has remained vacant for years at 6410 Roswell Road. The building used to hold a Mexican restaurant called La Paz that opened in 1979. In 2015, a developer, Nick Tehrani, applied to make exterior elevation changes to the building and wanted to open a hookah lounge called Kai Bar and Lounge, but the plan fell through.
The owner of the property, David Ben-Moshe, said it can be hard to lease because of the costs involved.
“Everybody has a dream but sometimes the dream doesn’t come true,” Ben-Moshe said. “Some people don’t have the money.”
Ben-Moshe also owns the vacant lot of 6400 Roswell Road next door. More than a decade ago, in March 2009, a sex shop called Inserection burned to the ground there.
Before Inserection, the building was a Buckhead Diamond jewelry store and later became a restaurant, according to Ben-Moshe. After the fire, the city condemned the property. In 2010, Ben-Moshe wanted to rebuild the jewelry store, but the plan never came to fruition and the lot remains vacant except for a billboard.
Ben-Moshe said he is in talks with some potential renters, including a company in the food business. He would not disclose the company.
“We have a few people we are talking to, but we haven’t locked anything down,” Ben-Moshe said. “But it’s going to take some time to rebuild the whole area there.”
After the fire in 2009, Inserection opened a new location at 7855 Roswell Road, which was one of three businesses that in 2018 lost a federal court appeal of their lawsuit claiming the city’s restrictions on sexually oriented businesses were unconstitutional. The case was appealed the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to review it.
The business closed in October 2018. As of March, the storefront was empty and the owner was actively seeking a new tenant, according to a broker representing the family that owns the shopping center. The small shopping center is located on the city’s North End across from the former City Hall location, which moved to City Springs in 2018
The broker did not respond to a comment request about the current status of the property.
Mardi Gras was tucked behind Powers Ferry Village, a shopping center at 6300 Powers Ferry Road owned by Regency Centers. The club was located in a separate building to the side.
That building is currently zoned as shopfront mixed-use, which is described in the development code as intended to provide for a variety of retail, service and commercial uses, as well as upper-story multi-unit residences.
In January 2019, Regency listed a new tenant, “Mickey G’s,” as occupying the strip club’s former building.
As of this year, the space is listed as available and Mickey G’s is no longer named by the center as its occupant.
Leslie Mintz, the leasing agent for the center, said in an email that there is nothing to share at this time, but the company is marketing the property and “working with a few prospects.”