The Penthouse Club…

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With at least six strip clubs currently operating in Downtown L.A., the majority of which have been in operation for less than ten years —
Sam’s Hof Brau (topless, opened 1/1995), PlayPen (nude, opened 2/1998), Spearmint Rhino (nude, opened 5/2000), The Score (nude, opened 3/2002), Silver Reign (nude, opened 1/2003), and Ultimate 10 Showgirls (nude, opened 6/2005) — The Penthouse Club is currently scheduled to open next month, and to no one’s surprise, it’s not being welcomed with open arms.

Among the people interviewed for the article were Max Amadi (Penthouse Club) and Jeff Stoller (Penthouse director of global club licensing) as well as Eric Kurimura (Nishi Hongwanji Betsuin board member, Little Tokyo Community Council secretary), Sgt. Aloaf Walker (LAPD Central Division vice squad), Jan Perry and José Huizar (councilmembers), and Joel Bloom (Bloom’s General Store):

Slated to open in mid-October in a former warehouse on the corner of Vignes and Commercial streets, the topless club, part of a chain liscensed by Penthouse Media Group, represents an investment of $1.5 million, potentially 40 non-dancing jobs and thousands of dollars in tax revenue for the city.

But the site, in a heavily industrial section of Downtown bordered by First and Alameda streets, the 101 Freeway and the Los Angeles River, is three short blocks away from the Nishi Hongwanji Betsuin, a Buddhist temple and community center at 815 E. First St.

Obviously, this isn’t the first time an adult publication has expanded beyond its print empire — Playboy had its Playboy Clubs (with the local branch residing on the Sunset Strip) and Hustler has its casino in Gardena and its adult store on the Sunset Strip — so it’ll be interesting to see how Penthouse fares out here.

More after the jump.

A tour of the unfinished establishment showed what he meant. Well appointed with brass fixtures, a fireplace, a DJ booth replete with iron scrollwork, an elevated, glassed-in dining area, a glass-doored wine room and a VIP level overlooking the stage below, the club will seem classy, as far as strip clubs go.

The move is Penthouse’s first foray into California. Incorporated in Nevada and headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla., the magazine and media empire has licensed 10 clubs across the continent, including spots in New York, New Orleans and Phoenix. …

The club would be the first in Central Division’s coverage area, but Walker believes it won’t be the last.

“All it takes is a groundbreaker, a pioneer. If it’s profitable, there will be more clubs coming in,” Walker said.

(Photo courtesy of Gary Leonard / The L.A. Downtown News.)

(Special thanks to ZBone in the preparation of this article.)