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Quick and Dirty

Heaven Can Wait

Nightclub owner says he's pulling application for Heaven nightclub

By Van Smith | Posted 2/6/2008

Within hours of last week's City Paper being sent to press Jan. 29, ex-con John Giorgilli called to say he intends to pull the liquor-license application for opening a nightclub called Heaven in the downtown building where Hammerjacks used to rock ("Balling the 'Jack," Mobtown Beat, Jan. 30). But despite Giorgilli's assertions, Baltimore City Board of Liquor License Commissioners spokesman Douglas Paige said on Feb. 1 that the application is still alive, with the scheduled Feb. 14 hearing on the matter remaining, for now, on the agenda.

"I'm withdrawing the application," Giorgilli, 41, said over the phone, adding that "this was my last attempt to do something here. I'm leaving the state." Though Giorgilli himself was not applying to be on the license, he was listed in the application as the full-time operator of the proposed club. The licensees listed on the application are his mother, Joanne Giorgilli, and Leroy Brown, who has criminal convictions in his background, too. State law prohibits felons from holding liquor licenses.

Paige says that "a license application can only be withdrawn in writing, and at this point there is nothing in writing" withdrawing the Heaven application. If a letter is not submitted before the scheduled hearing, and if the proposed licensees don't show up for that hearing, Paige continues, then "the board won't act on the application. They won't take any testimony about it unless the licensees, Mrs. Giorgilli and Mr. Brown, are there. But at this point there is nothing in writing requesting to withdraw the application, so it's still a go."

Should Giorgilli and the proposed licensees continue to pursue their plans for Heaven, the building owner still might not lease the building to them, according to John Ginnever, a vice president of RWN Development Group. "Any lease would be subject to the completion of our due diligence [in reviewing the proposed deal] and, further, to the ability of the tenant to obtain a liquor license," Ginnever states in a Jan. 30 e-mail. "We have been in discussions with a number of individuals and entities who have approached us in the hopes of leasing out the old Hammerjacks nightclub," Ginnever continues, "but we have no signed agreement with anyone regarding the lease."

As for the company's plans for the site--it's been approved for a skyscraper--Ginnever writes that "our overall goal . . . is redevelopment, but with the slow market we have adjusted our time frame on the new construction and may lease out the building in the interim."

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Related by keywords

Johnny G's Revenge : Lawsuit Filed Over Stymied Plan to Re-Open Hammerjacks 3/26/2008

Balling The 'Jack : Ex-Con Aims to Reopen Hammerjacks as Heaven 1/30/2008

Tags: Hammerjacks, John Giorgilli

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