Potential strip club building shut down before opening next to church

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A building next to a Memphis church was set to open as a strip club until WMC Action News 5 contacted code enforcement.

Memphis and Shelby County Office of Code Enforcement placed a sign on the building Wednesday saying "Do Not Occupy."

The vacant building is located next to Word of Life Healing Ministry on South Mendenhall Road off Mt. Moriah Road.

"It really hurt that somebody would try to bring that type of business to the neighborhood," pastor Beatrice Davis said.

Davis said she was not going to let this happen. Her church is two doors down from the building, and is across from apartments where children usually play.

Several viewers contacted WMC Action News 5 about the building because it had a sign on it saying it would soon open as "Fancy Gentlemen's Club."

"We feel that it's a public nuisance and injustice to the bring that type of business to the community," Davis said.

Code Enforcement said in February 2016 the owner of the building said they planned to open the building as a bar/pawn shop.

A complaint was filed months after Code Enforcement was told the building would be a bar/pawn shop. The complaint said the building was actually going to be used as a strip club. A second complaint was later filed for "failure to maintain permit for alterations."

"They know they shouldn't be doing that in that zone," Code Enforcement administrator Allen Medlock said.

Code Enforcement said it went out to the building in July 2016 to follow up on those complaints, but the group only found a vacant building.

Wednesday, after WMC Action News 5 contacted Code Enforcement, an inspector went to the building and saw the sign advertising a strip club.

"He misrepresented what he was going to do there when he took the permit out," Medlock said.

The zoning inspector placed a sign on the building and Code Enforcement said it will not allow the building to be used a strip club under current zoning regulations.

WMC Action News 5 Investigators tried to contact the property owners on Wednesday, but they were not willing to comment.

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