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Hustler Strip Club Eyed for Detroit

DETROIT — A Larry Flynt Hustler strip club may open downtown after the end of the year, if city council members give their OK.

The decision could end a three-year-long battle between the strip club owners and the city.

This morning lawyers for the owners of the proposed Hustler strip club asked city council members to approve the transfer of the Zoo Bar’s liquor license and topless dancing permits. The new club would be located at 415 E. Congress, the current site of the Zoo Bar.

The owners first asked for the transfer in June 2003 but the city council has refused to act on the request. But the council is now scheduled to vote Wednesday on the transfer.

Both sets of bar owners first took the council to court when it tried to prevent the opening of the Déjá Vu strip club at the location but a judge in 2004 ruled against the city. At that time, owners also had contemplated opening as a Hustler club.

The ruling allowed the owners to open a Déjá vu nightclub but the council never transfered over the liquor license.

In March 2006, the owners re-filed their lawsuit, hoping to force the council to act on the transfer.

Frank Palazzolo, an attorney for the new owners, H.D.V Greektown, wouldn’t comment today on the lawsuit but said they aren’t looking for any monetary damages from the city. They just want the council to approve the transfer of the liquor license, he said.

“We are here in a conciliatory mode,” said Palazzolo. “We are not looking for any money from the city.”

Several council members refused comment on the issue last week and said little at this morning’s hearing.

Council banned new strip bars from opening downtown in the late-1990s, but that didn’t affect the bar on Congress, which had been operating since 1986.

If the council approves the transfer, the owners would then need state approval. If all goes well, Palazzolo said the bar could open by January 2007 and would be a “premiere facility” downtown, attracting tourists from out-of-state and employing up to 125 full-time staffers. They would have a licensing agreement with the Hustler company to use the name.

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