Club Jesus

In New York City, a former Episcopal church-turned-landmark-nightclub could be reincarnated yet again in early 2007—this time as a mall.

Located in the then-gritty Chelsea neighborhood, New York City’s Limelight opened in 1983, giving clubbers the subversive thrill of dancing and drinking in a deconsecrated church.

The Limelight, located at 20th Street and Sixth Avenue, made its name in the 1980s and 1990s when it was run by notorious club owner Peter Gatien, who was later deported for tax evasion charges. Known for its wild parties, federal agents once referred to the club as a “drug supermarket.” 

Along with The Tunnel, the Limelight was a haunt of the flamboyant “club kids” of the early 1990s. Promoter Michael Alig, perhaps the most notorious of the lot, is currently incarcerated for his role in the gruesome killing of club-goer Angel Melendez. Alig’s story was made into a 2003 movie, called Party Monster, starring Macaulay Culkin.

But while the Limelight was closed by the Feds in 1996, the church-cum-nightclub re-opened in 2002, first as Estate and more recently as the Avalon. But the property will soon be turned into a shopping mall, according to an article in the New York Post

“The landlord has decided that he doesn’t want to go forward with another nightclub,” property broker Frank Terzulli, of Winnick Realty Group, told the newspaper this week. “He’s going to cut it up for retail tenants and a restaurant with patio seating.”

Terzulli added that “the area is becoming more upscale with high-priced condos and stores, and that will make it more difficult to get permits from the community board” to keep the location operating as a nightclub.

When it re-opens early next year as a shopping center, European retailer H&M will reportedly be the anchor tenant.

No word on whether or not the mall has plans for a drug supermarket.