MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The Mayor wants Club Crave on the corner of Fourth and Beale Street shut down, and Beale Street merchants have plenty of ideas on what they want to see happen to the corner.
Since the club opened in September, eight people have been shot outside; over the weekend a 24-year-old man was stabbed, merchants say the corner is cursed and any club that opens there will have the same problems.
The shootings and stabbings aren't happening inside Crave, located at 380 Beale, but in the police reports the club is mentioned. Cops believe last weekend's stabbing suspect was a member of a gang, the Vice Lords. Not the kind of clientele Beale Street merchants, like Lisa Smith, want to be associated with. "There's more violence there," Smith said. "They cater to a certain group of people. I can't put my finger on what that group is but from Plush Club to now, we're talking over a decade, this has been a repetitive problem."
Now Memphis Mayor A C Wharton has had enough. "Perhaps this is a time, under the laws, to take it over," Wharton said. "I don't want it operated. It's got a curse on it, it appears to me. Maybe just condemn the whole thing."
If the building is ordered a nuisance, the Mayor wants the club shut down for good. He'd like to see the building torn down. Smith said there are other options that could help the entire street, such as a new police precinct, a police museum, or, she suggests something more Memphis. "I think it would be a great idea to put a Ghost River micro brewery down there. We have people all over the world who visit and ask for our local beer. To have it in a spot like that improves an entire city block."
Smith and the Mayor just want change. "This is not one of those instances where we will go to a Judge and say, 'we think something bad might happen down there.'" Wharton said, "Something bad down there happens every week. I'm not going to stand by and wait for something worse to happen and then wonder, was there anything we could have done?"
The Mayor is talking with the District Attorney, City Attorney and Memphis Police to see what can be done to get the property placed under the city's control. The District Attorney General, Amy Weirich said, "It is certainly something I have been talking a lot about today, and yesterday, over the weekend and the weeks before because of what seems to be a prevailing problem in and around Club Crave."
Weirich said she has to work within the law and it takes time to shut a place down. "We have to file a nuisance petition and have something on paper to convince a Judge to shut it down temporarily, but enough to convince a Judge and court to close it permanently and take it to that next level that I know the Mayor and many people in the community are looking for in terms of this club."