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New Plan Would Turn Old Pacha Space Into Art Gallery and Weekly Nightclub

By Maya Rajamani | August 11, 2017 11:49am | Updated on August 14, 2017 9:54am
 The former Pacha NYC space on West 46th Street.
The former Pacha NYC space on West 46th Street.
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Facebook/Pacha NYC

HELL’S KITCHEN — Plans for a five-floor dance club in the space that formerly housed Pacha and the infamous Sound Factory have been scrapped, but in its place is a new effort for an art gallery that would operate as a nightclub just one night a week, local officials said.

In June, Community Board 4 approved Space Ibiza New York co-owner Antonio Piacquadio’s plans to open a new club called FREQ at 618 W. 46th St., between 11th and 12th avenues.

That proposal fell through, however, with CB4 member Morgan McLean saying Tuesday that Piacquadio’s nightclub is "not happening." It was not clear why the plan was dropped, and Piacquadio did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

At CB4's Business Licenses and Permits committee meeting Tuesday, Hell’s Kitchen resident Glenn Raymond presented a new proposal to open a venue called Mekka NYC in the former Pacha space.

Raymond’s plan would see the space operate as a nightclub on Saturday nights only, with live music and corporate events taking place on other evenings, his attorney Terrance Flynn told the committee. During the day, the space would house a gallery and museum, Flynn said. 

But around a dozen neighborhood residents showed up to voice their concerns about another venue with a nightlife component moving into the space.

When Pacha was still open, neighbors dealt with loud music emanating from the club, including drunken, screaming patrons leaving the venue and a host of other quality-of-life concerns, they told the committee.

"I’ve got to say one of the better days was when Pacha closed down," one attendee named Steve said. "I used to put in tons of 311 calls — nothing ever happened."

"[W]hat we went through in that neighborhood with Pacha was beyond horrific," another attendee added.

A handful of people, however, came out to support Raymond's venture, with one man saying he felt the venue would be a "cultural touchstone" for the neighborhood. 

The committee asked Raymond to meet with residents to address their concerns and come back with details on venue acoustics and security.

CB4 approved Piacquadio’s application for the space in June without opposition from neighbors, though co-chair Frank Holozubiec said the lack of outcry may have been because locals didn't know about the previous proposal. 

“The reality is, this is a huge, empty space there, and the landlord is going to keep trying to put something in there,” he said. “If something has to be there… is this better than someplace that wants to be open three nights a week? I’m not saying it is, but keep that in mind.”

On Thursday, Raymond told DNAinfo New York his new venue would be nothing like Pacha.

The nightlife veteran — who told CB4 he’s run festivals in Miami and other large-scale events for the past 26 years — is working with galleries in Chelsea and overseas to bring in pieces for an art gallery at the space.

The gallery would be free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, he said. 

The walls in the space — which were dark when it operated as Pacha — will be "professionally painted" and serve as works of art themselves, he added. 

"It’s not just a club, and that’s what the community needs to understand," he said. "It’s going to be something for the community."

The venue would host acoustic performances on some Thursday and Friday nights and corporate and private events from fashion and other industries on other nights, but it wouldn’t be a space for "outside promoters" to rent, he noted.

The art gallery could open as early as this fall, he said. The rest of the venue would likely begin operating at some point next year.

"When [patrons] come there, they’re going to get a cultural experience," he said. "It’s not going to be a remake of what was there before."