MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - After the most recent shooting last week the city is closing Club Crave on Beale Street for good, but critics are speaking out against Mayor A C Wharton’s decision to demolish the troubled night club.
Some want to see Club Crave remain open but with different management. Others say that's already been tried and the violence has continued. Now, the city wants to tear the club down. One way or another, it appears change is coming and coming fast.
Over the last year there have been multiple fights, shootings, and stabbings at 380 Beale Street, the infamous Club Crave. Mayor Wharton believes the place is cursed and needs to be destroyed.
"Enough's enough and I applaud the mayor for making a tough choice,” said Beale Street Merchants Association President Ty Agee.
Dr. Kenneth Whalum, Jr., pastor of the New Olivet Baptist Church, disagrees.
"If the ownership is the problem, fine, get rid of the owners but why tear the building down when the street itself is steeped in that kind of activity?"
Ty Agee says new owners have been tried but the shootings haven't stopped.
"They switched names a couple of times, they've switched ownerships, and it's always the same thing and what happens on Beale Street, the historical district between 2nd and 4th takes a hit,” said Agee.
Whalum says shutting down or demolishing Club Crave does not address the problem and it is an attack on black-owned businesses.
"There have been violent attacks on other places on Beale Street, but we haven't closed down any of the other restaurants because of that,” said Whalum. “And none of the other restaurants are owned by blacks."
Agee says that's simply not the case.
"We don't grudge anybody having a business there. We wish them well. We just wish all the bad that came with it didn't happen,” said Agee. “Let’s do something different. That doesn't work and it doesn't matter who's in there.”
"The city's official reaction to problems: ‘Just tear it down and it'll be ok.’ We tore Libertyland down, which was a place for young people to go. The mayor supports the Transition Planning Committee suggestions to tear down inner city schools,” said Whalum. “So if we tear it down the problem will just disappear? No! And that is very, very, troublesome to me."
Talks are ongoing between the owners of Club Crave and the city to turn the place possibly into a parking garage, but for now, the place remains closed and condemned. Club owners are expected in court January 3, 2013.