Cordova building to house Ocean Club, says Cooper - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andrew Douglas

Cordova building to house Ocean Club, says Cooper

Cordova residents suspected that a building with no windows said to be an Italian restuarant called La Italiano would become a strip club based on the owner's past ventures in adult entertainment.

Owner Steve Cooper now says the building will house an upscale dining and dance club called Ocean Club. The two-story 14,000 square foot facility will focus on steak and seafood -- and not on strip shows, as many had feared.

"This area will be covered with tables and chairs for dining," said project supervisor Dave Rogers during an exclusive tour. "Right around 9:00 p.m., they'll clear that out so couples can dance."

Cooper says he never intended to build a strip club or adult business in the facility. In fact, he's building another dining and dance club in Arizona.

But many say Cooper, a major player in the Memphis adult industry and owner of a number of adult clubs, can't be trusted.

Brian Stephens of Cordova Leadership Council is a community activist who wants to see plans for Ocean Club in writing and on the record.

"It's one thing to go and tell the media, and go and send out a flyer," said Stephens. "It's another thing to go and put it on a government document that says what you plan for it, and to lock it in for eternity."

Regardless of the name change and new plans, city and community leaders insists they'll be watching the changes closely.

"If they try anything otherwise, we'll come down hard on him," said city councilman Bill Boyd.

But the supervisor charged with preparing Ocean Club for its opening says that's not going to happen.

Click here to e-mail Andrew Douglas.

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