Heyl: Whim nightclub site's jinx could vex residents in Pittsburgh
Waging war against the inevitable is a losing battle.
So the owners of Whim nightclub in Station Square should halt the legal attempt to prolong its existence. Even if they succeed, the dance nearly is over for one of the largest places to get your groove on in Pittsburgh.
Whim sued to prevent Forest City Enterprises, which owns Station Square, from terminating the club's lease before its expiration next year. Whim is the only business remaining in Station Square's East Warehouse, which Forest City wants to raze for parking and perhaps apartments.
Forest City has a lawsuit pending against Whim, but details of the legal tête-à-tête aren't relevant. What's important is that both sides are wasting their money on attorneys' fees.
No matter who prevails, Whim is doomed.
No business has experienced long-term success in the 11,000 square feet the nightclub occupies. The property either is jinxed, or its enormous size frequently generates bankruptcy-inducing utility bills.
For a quarter-century, can't-miss concepts have missed in the cavernous surroundings. Take the Pittsburgh Sports Garden, which opened in 1989 and inaugurated the site's impressive string of failures.
How could a joint with a name like that fail in this city? That's akin to a Catholic-themed bistro going belly up at the Vatican.
After the sports bar, the space housed another sports bar: Woodson's All-Star Grille, named for Steelers cornerback Rod Woodson. It opened in 1995 and might have enjoyed success had Woodson not left the team after the 1996 season.
Woodson's then had about as much drawing power as the Pittsburgh Sports Garden. It went under in 1999, and the site was vacant for about two years until it was extensively renovated and reopened as — you guessed it — a sports bar.
Woodson's Steelers motif was ditched in favor of the Canadian maple leaf when the place became the first American franchise of Ontario-based Philthy McNasty's. But even though McNasty's catered to American tastes, rather than cuisine favored by Saskatchewan fur traders, McNasty's lasted for barely two years.
The next operators in the space wisely realized a sports theme probably wouldn't work. Various concepts were considered, including, I believe, a tiki bar, a business-themed club, complete with a stock market ticker, and a hybrid establishment attempting to bring together the wildly divergent karaoke and motocross crowds.
In the end, they settled for Margarita Mama's, a Mexican joint that was about as well-received as a linoleum burrito.
Now it's Whim, which, at best, has a year left before it meets the wrecking ball. Who can blame Forest City for wanting to put out of its misery a building with such a wretched record? But the developer should be wary about building an apartment complex on the property.
Tenant turnover might be a problem.
Eric Heyl is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. He canbe reached at 412-320-7857 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Alvarez homer triggers winning outburst for Pirates
- Pirates claim Ishikawa off waivers; Marte injured
- Greeks reject demands for more austerity in key referendum
- Woman shot at Kennywood Park in ‘freak accident’
- McCutchen, Pirates hitters increasingly in crosshairs
- Police: Maine man shoots off firework from top of head, dies
- Pirates minor league report: Ramirez more mindful while at plate
- Murrysville home damaged in blaze
- Starting 9: Pirates missing out on young bat
- Pittsburgh’s tech startup activity rates last of 40 metro areas in report
- Biertempfel: Loss of All-Star paper ballots a blow to nostalgia