WARREN - Within two days of holding its grand opening, a new establishment that promotes itself as a private club has been ordered closed.
Christopher Taneyhill, Warren chief building official, said the city issued Stilettos a cease and desist order Monday based on "illegal occupancy."
"There are multiple issues there," Taneyhill said. "They have zoning violations. Basically, they are operating illegally."
Stilettos club along McMyler Street N.W. in Warren was closed after less than two days of business. The business was advertised as a BYOB club with several themed rooms and membership fees. Photo by R. Michael Semple
The establishment, located in a former warehouse at 2226 McMyler St., advertises itself as a private club and had registered with the state in December.
According to its website, the 7,000-square-foot club offers a hot tub / spa room, has two floors with two bars, two dance floors and two "one-of-a kind" glow stripper poles.
The website also lists at least six rooms with varying themes, a blacklight room and a group room.
Warren officials found the club's use and occupancy was non-compliant, according to a cease and desist order issued Monday, and that it did not:
Obtain a valid certificate of occupancy from the building official.
Obtain the required approvals from the city building official.
Submit four sets of construction documents to the building officials for approval as required.
Source: Warren Building Inspection Department
The club identifies itself as a BYOB, or bring your own bottle, establishment. Membership is required and door fees are listed at $40 for couples, $55 for single males and $10 for single ladies. According to the website, single men are welcome, but admission is limited to one single male per five couples per night. Business hours are listed as 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Larry Larson said he was outside the club during its opening over the weekend, responding to a call about the business from a concerned resident. Larson is a member of the North West Neighborhood Association, a watch group for the area.
On his block watch, Larson said he observed nicely dressed individuals enter and exit the building with bottles of alcohol. He said waited outside the club with a member of the media and called police to alert them of the situation.
"We don't need something like that," Larson said.
He compared the business to the massage parlors that the city closed last May after years of discussing their presence in the city.
"We didn't even like the idea of the massage parlors," Larson said, "It's just not what we stand for."
Larson said the neighborhood association patrols the northwest side of Warren once or twice a week to keep an eye out for suspicious activity. Bob Weitzel is president of the association.
"Larry was at the grand opening," Weitzel said on Monday. "Them questioning (the club's opening) has been somewhat of a help in the process of closing it down."
Weitzel said he is familiar with McMyler Street and that it is the location of many older businesses. He and members of the neighbor association keep an eye out for new businesses opening that they think are suspicious.
"It draws down the neighborhood," Weitzel said, "because people don't want to live by those kinds of businesses."
Attempts by a Tribune Chronicle reporter to reach club management through a telephone number listed on the website were not successful Monday.
According to the Ohio Secretary of State website the club is registered under the name of Gaus Enterprises LLC. The applicant is listed as Bruce Gaus of 1461 Stillwgaon Road S.E., Warren. Gaus is also the only person listed as a general partner on the registration.
The establishment is located in a building owned by 2226 McMyler LLC.
Warren Councilman Eddie Colbert, who represents the 7th Ward where the club is located, said several legal questions have come up based on information the club advertises on its website and on Craigslist.
"Obviously we need to find what is going on there," said Colbert. "Regardless of all of that, you have to have the right permits to be in our city. Basically, we know no permits have been filed or granted."
Warren Mayor Doug Franklin said city officials became concerned when they realized the club had opened on Saturday without securing the appropriate paperwork, including a change of use request for the property.
According to a cease and desist document from the Warren Building Inspection Department, the club cannot be used or occupied until a valid certificate of occupancy has been issued by the city building official.