27th Street Shuffle: West Chelsea Nightlife Mogul Snatches Plagued Megaclub

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Photo: iStockphoto.com

While Amy Sacco may or may not be selling Bungalow 8, Jon B, owner of cash cows Home and Guest House, is in contract to purchase another slot on the coke-dusted Monopoly board that is West Chelsea. Having convinced the yoga-loving owner of Spirit, Robbie Wootton, to abandon his fight to reopen since the club's forcible closure in August, Jon B says he'll take over its West 27th Street space and bring an upscale crowd to rock shows and big-name D.J. performances. "I intend to operate it totally differently," he says of a space that has been under scrutiny since its days as Twilo.

Of course, Jennifer Moore, the New Jersey girl who was murdered in July after a night of clubbing, spent her last hours at Jon B's Guest House, and the subsequent nightlife crackdown raises question about how easy it'll be to transfer Spirit's liquor license. After Wootton pays off the estimated $6,600 in State Liquor Authority fines, Jon B estimates it'll be two or three months before a transfer is granted (a year-end freeze on new licenses in the area has caused a backlog of applications). After that, he says, it'll take another few months to turn the place into something "very different than what everybody is used to." And what's a suitable name for this new club, something that outclasses even Jon B's other venues, Home and Guest House? Alas, Mansion is already the hottest club in Miami. —Daniel Maurer