Vacant space in failed downtown mall could become giant nightclub

The Boston Business Journal reports a Florida nightclub operator is looking to turn 63,000 square feet of space in the old Lafayette Place mall on Washington Street into a sort of steroidal Dave and Buster's.

The Journal quotes downtown business honcho Rosemarie Sansone as allowing as how people will have to be educated on why the nascent residential neighborhood needs a 63,000-square-foot nightclub. Too bad Felt couldn't hold on.

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    "failed downtown mall"

    Was anyone else thinking this meant the Corner Mall?

    Can't wait for that mall to actually be called "failed" one day (provided it is actually filled with something else, that is).

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    YES!

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    YES!

    Not Corner Mall

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    The article isn't referring to the Corner Mall, it's referring to the Lafayette Mall a block down Washington Street toward Chinatown. It was built as an urban attempt to mimic the success of Copley Place, but teenagers would get out of high school about 1 pm and head downtown. They would then tear through the mall stealing as much stuff as they could. Some stores tried hanging on, but it was empty after a few years. Offices were then built inside, and State Street was in there for a decade or more, but it moved out a few years ago, leaving the building almost empty again. I can see that the owners might rent the 63,000 square feet out at a reduced rate, and there's no place in Boston where you can rent so much space for a nightclub, but I don't know if the city is anxious for a revitalization of the Combat Zone. But we'll see.

    Yes, I know

    Yes, I realized it was the Lafayette Mall. But my initial thought was, "Yes! The Corner Mall is gone! Drinks on me!"

    Also, I've never heard this story about teens trashing the Lafayette Mall before, can anyone confirm? General consensus is that the design killed the mall, not teens. I've never heard about this before. Though, it wouldn't surprise me -- if no one was going there, it was an easy target for criminals to swoop in.

    Lafayette Place Mall

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    I used to hang out at Lafayette Place from time to time in my teen years (late '89-'91ish). I don't remember teens trashing the place. It was basically a semi-circular food court on the second floor with a dozen or so stores on the first. Couldn't even tell what stores there. Nothing memorable obviously.

    Problem was the location. In those days that was the edge of the combat zone, and bit too sketchy for the average suburban shopper...ie, anyone with any real money to spend.

    There were some instances

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    Now that it's been brought up, I do remember those instances of teenage "wilding" going on in the Lafayette Mall. It was about the same time as that type of thing was happening in New York. If I recall, it was just a few instances, but it certainly scared people away from going to the place, and it was already pretty much empty all the time anyway. It was doomed from the start. It was designed like a fortress because the Combat Zone was still very much alive at the time, and it was thought the design would keep the Combat Zone out and the shoppers in. It didn't work. Inside it was very round, one was always going around a bend and couldn't see what was ahead. There were a smattering of stores. I remember a CVS, a Chess King (remember them?), a Waldenbooks or Lauriat type bookstore and a few women's clothing stores. I used to go on a Saturday, which should be a strong shopping day, and the place was a ghost town, except for elderly Asian men, no doubt from nearby Chinatown, sitting on the benches. They weren't buying anything, they were just using it as a hangout. I think it was only the food court that kept the place going for as long as it did.

    The Corner Mall Lives

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    Okay, I'm not downtown that much, but I give the Corner Mall credit for being what it is- a glorified food court with a few stores.

    Lafayette Plaza was a failure from the start. Who thought making the corridor a circle was a great idea? Even as a kid I figured out the security failures of that (and no, I wasn't a looter, but the further from Jordan Marsh I got the less safe I felt.)

    Nightlife in Boston is corny

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    Nightlife in Boston is corny as hell. I always found this city to be like a "no fun zone."

    So less corny or more corny?

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    I can't tell from your comment: a club operator with facilities in Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Albany and Kingston (MA?, NY? other?) is going to make Boston nightlife less corny or more corny?

    I think that I probably gave away what my feeling is.

    Banned!

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    Who said f-n zone?! No using the word f-n in Boston! "Corny" is also questionable, as it has overtones of f-n. Next you will be talking about "happy hour." No happiness!

    I was going to say..."corny?"

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    Who is this guy--Holden Caulfield?

    Sorry, but observing that Boston isn't the hub of nightlife cities is about as fresh and original as a pair of spats and a bowler hat. That said, the idea of DTX as a "nascent residential neighborhood" is pretty off base. No one is moving there expecting it to be a leafy suburb.

    Gawker, is that you?

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    Where are you from that nightlife is so awesome?

    Protip: If you don't like Boston, there are other cities in the US that have nightlife you might like better.

    ohhhh, small Prince Pizza

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    ohhhh, small Prince Pizza with cole slaw please!

    anyone else remember Ruggles?

    I liked Ruggles Pizza

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    Yes, but Ruggles wasn't in the Lafayette Mall. It was in DTX where Payless is now. I liked the place a lot, but I guess the idea of British pizza never caught on.

    Ruggles Pizza

    was also once on Mass. Ave. in Harvard Square, near the Coop. It replaced the old main entrance to the Harvard Square Theatre, which opened a new replacement entrance on Church Street.

    To be called?

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    1: Danger Zone Nightclub
    2. Stray Shots
    3. The Urban Suburban
    4. Studio 6ft Under
    5. Club Mayhem
    6. What Are YOU Lookin' At?
    7. Throwin' Drinks
    8. The Security Camera
    9. Shenannigan's
    10.Closed For Violations

    It's not a "nascent residential neighborhood"

    It's a commercial and entertainment district with a few new residences scattered around its edges, occupied mainly by 1%ers. The nouveau riche residents need to understand that they've moved into a busy and pre-existing commercial area that serves the entire metro Boston region.

    Afraid I have to disagree

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    It's not just the well publicized new buildings. There are a lot of old offices, even right on Washington St., right across from Macy's that have been turned into residential units (which I know because "Househunters" on HGTV did a segment on it). There are now or soon will be a few thousand people in the DTX area. Yes, it's a fundamentally different kind of neighborhood than West Roxbury, but there are actual people living there now and business types like Rosemary Sansone really need to start taking that into account. I made a crack about Felt, but a trouble magnet like that is not going to last long this time around (not saying the new place will be anything like Felt, but the neighborhood will make sure it doesn't turn into it - or the Good Times Emporium).

    The number of residences

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    The number of residences doesnt really matter. This is a city, and this is as downtown as it gets. You absolutely cannot move downtown and complain about noise...like ever.

    That being said, some place that's just going to bring trouble isnt good for anyone.

    It's a commercial and

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    It's a commercial and entertainment district with a few new residences scattered around its edges, occupied mainly by 1%ers.

    respectfully Ron: bullshit.

    I live in 1K sq. ft. at Parkside (170 Tremont) and I can assure you that 0% of the residents in my building are in the 1%. I'm just an empty nester that traded in his place from the 'burbs $1 for $1.

    There are not a "few" residences downtown, there are well > a thousand. And that number is growing.

    I am sensitive because many of my neighbors choose to invest in downtown, one of the most dynamic neighborhoods in the city, but so much ignorant bullshit abounds.

    Are there any pictures of the

    Are there any pictures of the former exterior besides the one with the flags? or the interior? Dad used to never want us to go there but I can't find any photographic evidence at all!

    I tried

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    I tried to looking for some but there are so few. The mall was open for less than 10 years and was never full.

    I did find the original proposal for the mall from the ArchBoston link above. It's an interesting read of 'what could have been'

    http://www.archive.org/stream/jordanmarshlafay00bost#page/n3/mode/2up

    Sadly I don't think this new 'nightclub' will pass because the NIMBYs who live in the Ritz Towers, Archstone, and other nearby towers already complain about the nightclubs in the area. (dtx & theatre district), so it'll be interesting to see if it has wings. The building is mostly empty since State Street moved out, but there are a few offices left on the hotel side of the complex.

    Why wouldn't they

    Put more luxury housing there?! But I suppose all of the people that are just flocking to live in DTX need SOMETHING to do at night.

    Oh, that should be fun

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    Don't get me wrong. I loved Good Time Emporium. I took my wife there on an early date. But that was a rough place. The combination of Chuck E Cheese and a divy sports bar. I was once playing that truck racing game. The bump at the beginning was so realistic. Until I found out it was the beginning of a girl fight next to the machine.