When will people learn that naked women are not a cure-all for helping revitalize a city?
Chances are, right now at Signatures topless bar near 13th and Locust Streets, right between the Avenue of the Arts and the Convention Center, some exotic dancer is writhing around on a small stage, trying to earn as much money from the clientele as possible.
If all goes according to the plans of the operators of the nationwide strip club chain The Gold Club, within a few months Signatures will be part of one of their huge adult entertainment complexes.
If that were to happen, it would be a tremendous step back for the area, and for the city’s image in general.
The Gold Club in Atlanta made national news over the summer for the conduct of its dancers, especially when in the company of celebrities and athletes, like 76ers center Dikembe Mutumbo. Reports of sexual favors for money and other illegalities led to the indictment of Lyle Goodman, a consultant hired by the Gold Club to help get some of its locations up and running.
Goodman is currently bringing his tarnished reputation and affinity for strippers to Philadelphia, as one of the leaders in trying to get this club off the ground. Given his checkered past, it would be a huge mistake for the city to, forgive the expression, get into bed with him.
Also to be considered is the impact a club the size of The Gold Club would have on the area. Over 10 times the size of Signatures, The Gold Club would attract the worst element to an area of the city that has undergone a huge transformation in the last decade.
Development along the Avenue of the Arts has been an economic boon for the city, as has the construction of the Convention Center. Crime, prostitution and drug use have all been well combated in the area, largely due to the decline in venues to attract such an element. Now, we’re considering dropping a huge strip club, historically a business that promotes prostitution, drug use and other offenses, into an area we’ve been revitalizing for years, based largely on consultation given by an indicted man.
If you ask me, and if you’re reading my column you are, this is a terrible idea for the continued growth and prosperity of the city.
If this club is allowed to move in, that area and the city as a whole will be taking a step back in time to when Center City was nothing but an open-air brothel, complete with rampant drug use, vandalism and violence.
While I’m not saying Center City is perfect, adding a seedy nightclub right in the middle of a recovering area is not good business.