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Lease signed so WGN gay club will re-open

Thu 14 Feb 2008 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

The Wellington venue formally known as Imerst will reopen under new management as a gay venue - as plans revealed by last week to make the building into an office block have now been shelved, and a new long-term lease confirmed. Greig Wilson, owner of recently gay party venue SubNine, has taken over the lease at 13 Dixon Street, with help from new business supporters Neil Howland and Ryan Cochrane. "We were able to take over the location literally at the 11th hour," Wilson explains. "The place was going to be turned into office space with demolition slated in the next four years. "It took a lot of hard work and going back-and-forth until we were finally able to convince the owner to go with us." Imerst closed late last year, apparently with rent remaining unpaid and the lease withdrawn. Three vendors have tried and failed to keep the Dixon Street address open in the past three years, raising some concern. "We have a clear vision and strategy," Wilson responds. "This isn't an emotional involvement - we know how to run a successful venue and this will last." The new managers are planning a massive restructure of the large 3-floor venue into two separate clubs catering to both gay and straight guests. "The local rainbow community will still have their place to hang out, with a bar, smoking balcony and adjoining nightclub space, but this will all be supported, if you like, by a mainstream club that anyone can go to," Wilson explains. "Imerst was just too huge of a venue to just service one form of clientele. It was a nice thing for the community but it was doomed to failure." The club will open initially as Formerly Immersed - a witty take-off of the previous business name - on Friday 14 March, with on-going rebuilding in time for a full re-launch in Autumn, complete with a new name and image. "We're having a huge celebration on the Friday and Saturday with some amazing acts already confirmed including The Glamazons," Wilson says. "So come along and be prepared to be dazzled!"    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Thursday, 14th February 2008 - 5:26pm

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