Controversial club prepares to open at 616 Marshall

A new Memphis club opens Friday night, and people in the area worry it won't be a good neighbor.

The controversy is over the club at 616 Marshall.  "Off Beale Live" will open for the first time as a dance club, but its owner continues to fight to get approval for an adult entertainment club or strip club at the address.  The establishment promises to have live music, DJs, and lots of pretty girls dancing, similar to clubs like "Coyote Ugly."
Billy Weakley, who's owned a business in the area for more than 40 years, doesn't mind the new establishment.  "It's been a bar before, and it hasn't bothered me," he said.

Meanwhile, neighbor Meikle Gardner said an eventual transformation to an adult-oriented club would bring an unfavorable element to the area.  "I just think there's a lot of periphery activity that goes on around adult-oriented businesses, that I just don't feel is appropriate for a neighborhood that thrives on artistic endeavors," he said.

Edward Bearman, the attorney representing the club's owner, said court proceedings to allow an adult club in the building continue.  "That litigation is still ongoing," he said.  "It wouldn't be appropriate for me to comment."

Still, neighbor Jean Seagle worried about the future.

"I think it's terrible if it's going to be a dancing girl club," she said.  "I think it will really bring the neighborhood down."

Bearman said, no matter what, the club will be a good neighbor.

"My client will and has always, in all of his clubs, provided a safe environment," he said.

"Off Beale Live" opens Friday night at 9:00pm as a dance club where everyone is fully clothed.  Action News 5 will keep you updated on the appeal concerning the club's adult status.