110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Pat Andrews
posted Oct 13, 2013 - 7:35:15am
Winn-Dixie has won the first round in an attempt to prevent a “ladies and gentlemen's club” from opening in the Brandywine Village Shopping Center at 3100 N. Woodland Blvd.
Judge Raul Zambrano granted the temporary restraining order Oct. 10, pending a hearing in his courtroom in the Volusia County Courthouse at 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 17.
The grocery retailer filed Oct. 9 for a temporary injunction against the shopping-center operator and Top Shelf Ventures. Top Shelf is in the process of opening Pin Ups Ladies and Gentlemen's Club 117 feet from the Winn-Dixie supermarket.
Jacksonville attorney H. Timothy Gillis is representing Winn-Dixie.
The basis for the lawsuit is a clause in the shopping center's lease with Winn-Dixie that says the landlord "won't allow certain types of businesses" such as "strip clubs and bars" to open in the same shopping center, Gillis said.
The restraining order signed by the judge refers to those lease terms.
The complaint also notes that families with young children frequent Winn-Dixie, and that a strip bar operating in the shopping center would drive away these customers. It would cause "irreparable harm" to Winn-Dixie, which has operated in the shopping center for 30 years, the complaint states. The complaint refers to Pin Ups as "a strip club."
The Beacon was unable to contact Pin Ups owner Tim Blakeslee for comment Oct. 9 or Oct. 10. A phone call to property owner Brandywine Properties LLC in Miami was not returned.
The Brandywine shopping center would be Pin Ups’ third location in the area. Called Pin Ups Gentlemen's Club, the establishment was previously on East State Road 44, near the Interstate 4 interchange, and also was at 3705 North U.S. Highway 17.
Court records show landlord H. Charles Tapalian Sr. filed suit against Top Shelf Ventures over the location at 3705 North U.S. Highway 17. That suit names Barbara and Ray Tennent as Top Shelf’s managing members. The Tennents, along with Blakeslee, are listed as managing members on the company’s registration forms filed with the state.
Tapalian’s complaint alleges that Tapalian began an eviction process in September 2012 against Top Shelf/Pin Ups for nonpayment. Pin Ups moved out at the end of October 2012, owing two months’ rent of around $8,500, the complaint states. Tapalian also alleges the company owes more than $15,000 for damages to the property and for property belonging to the landlord that was removed from the premises. That case is still active, Tapalian's attorney Bob Foster said.
Records online at the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation show that Top Shelf Ventures, doing business as Pin Ups, has a full liquor license that currently shows the Brandywine address.
According to county ordinances, bikini bars — where genitalia and breasts are mostly covered — can legally sell liquor. Nudity is not permitted in places that sell alcohol.
County zoning ordinances do not prohibit either bars or bikini bars in shopping centers or commercial areas in the unincorporated areas of the county.
County Building and Zoning Director Rob Walsh said adult theaters, including live performances in bars, can operate only in light-industrial areas, under Volusia County zoning ordinances.
Websites devoted to strip clubs identify the West Volusia Pin Ups as a "strip club" or "bikini bar" with lap dances.
A link to the Pin Ups website online was inoperable.
The Beacon was told some Brandywine neighbors planned to protest Pin Ups' move into the shopping center.
Brandywine Homeowners Association President Ken Jonas said the association has nothing planned, but that some residents may be planning to protest on their own.
Jonas was relieved to hear of Winn-Dixie's opposition to Pin Ups, Jonas said.
"We're not happy about it, either," he said, adding that residents want family-friendly businesses in the nearby shopping center.
Jonas noted the center has had three Internet cafes as tenants in the past, which many neighbors also were not happy about. Those businesses have since closed, and the center has some vacant storefronts.
"We would like to see that plaza survive," Jonas said.
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