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New nightclub proposed for downtown Cape Coral

By Staff | Jun 16, 2010

The site of a former downtown Cape Coral nightclub police say had problems with crime could be getting a second chance.
Owners of the former Bamboo Club want to reopen the establishment as the “Coliseum Night Club”, envisioning it as dance club with a Roman column motif.
The property does have a new owner — Doris Emrich — who is the wife of the former owner, Michael Emrich, who transferred the property to his wife’s name.
Speaking on behalf of Emrich and her management team, Joe Mazurkiewicz said the Coliseum would not seek to attract the same clientele that caused the problems outside the previous club.
He said the amount of Emrich’s investment — $250,000 — would not be squandered on potential problems like violence and drugs that police alledge plagued the previous establishment.
“This will not appeal to the clientele that were there before,” he said. “They will not invest a quarter of million dollars to attract the same element that was there before.”
Shelley Cranford, owner of Backstreets Sports Bar, was opposed to the move because of the previous problems she said were created for her business and the district. Backstreets is a few doors down from the former Bamboo Club.
She said the same family of owners could create the same problems, though she did wish them luck.
Speaking about the previous problems Cranford said, “I’ve lived the nightmare of the Bamboo personally, and it affected my business. I can’t tell you how many times there was someone running from the Bamboo with the police chasing them.”
Cranford, the owner of Rack em’ Billiards, said he experienced the same problems as did Andy Grey.
“I’m all for them opening up if they can control it,” Grey said, adding, “I stressed out and freaked out, and I can’t go through that again. I don’t know where it went wrong, but it went wrong fast.”
Mazurkiewicz said his clients are seeking to create a unique, upscale nightclub experience.
He said they plan on closing the upstairs roof portion of the building, where many of the previous problems occurred.
“We eliminated the upstairs venue. We didn’t want any part of it,” he said.
The Community Redevelopment Agency’s Board endorsed supporting the special exemptions required by city and CRA staff to move the project to the next phase.
The nightclub will next be brought before the planning and zoning commission board on July 7, and then before city council for final approval.
Board Vice Chairman Jim Martin said he was unsure of endorsing the special exceptions without first knowing how, and if, the nightclub fits into the forthcoming 2030 Vision Plan.
Chairman Don Heisler said the new club should be judged on it own merits, and it does fit into the CRA’s plan of creating a vibrant entertainment district.
“We should not apply the sins of the past to a new business,” Heisler said. “I was good with this the minute I read the (information) package.”
In other news, the Community Redevelopment Agency is now the owner of the former home of the European Business Council at 1231 Lafayette Street.
The CRA purchased the building through the county’s foreclosure website at a winning bid of just over $55,000.
Also, the former home of Sukiyaki Sushi restaurant on Cape Coral Parkway will reopen soon as “Sans Sushi”, borrowing the name, in part, from the Sans Souci development in Northwest Cape Coral, which was turned down by city council.
“It’s scaled back a little bit from the project in the northwest,” John Jacobsen joked.