New Hells Kitchen Nightclub Proposed For Former Lexus Dealership

A new queer nightclub is looking to bring new life to the former dealership.
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An exciting new nightclub is currently drafting up plans to liven up Eleventh Avenue.

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Magnitude is a brand-new nightclub concept from owners Sherif Mabrouk, Akram Qaid, and Sergio Polajenko. Akram Qaid previously operated Shawerma Station Restaurant in East Harlem from 2018 until this year, and he is also known for his other popular Harlem concept – City Fish Market. Serif Mabrouk, meanwhile, currently serves as the manager for Eagle NYC, New York’s “Premiere leather cruise bar”. Together, the three make up a seasoned group of hospitality experts and are once again gearing up to develop a brand-new nightclub concept.

Their latest concept, Magnitude, was designed to “provide Hells Kitchen with an inclusive, safe, and friendly night venue that showcases cutting-edge, high-energy music trends and talented DJs.” The owners are currently eyeing the space at 627 Eleventh Avenue, which once functioned as a Lexus dealership, though no lease has been signed at this stage yet. In fact, the entire neighborhood was once known as Automobile Row, and back in its heyday was the place to go for fashionable Manhattanites in need of a new ride. Those days have long since passed though, and in the wake of additional retail disruptions resulting from the pandemic, the neighborhood now finds itself in the middle of a contentious debate about the future of the area.

Magnitude owners argue that the former car dealership is not properly designed to be remade as an office or residential building, and believe that “it is in the public’s best interest not to let this space remain vacant, and for the tenant to be an entity that brings an added layer of security to the neighborhood.” Magnitude expects to add security by providing the area with a bright, lively nightclub in an area with reasonable distance from residents. The owners have indicated their intentions to hire over 50 employees directly from the Hells Kitchen community and have also declared their efforts to provide a unique safe haven for the neighborhood’s queer community, outlining a robust security plan designed to monitor the club and keep the surrounding area safe and free of trouble.

Despite this, community board members have expressed concern about the club’s 2,000-person capacity and 4:00 AM closing hours. Many believe that the future of the neighborhood is residential, not entertainment, and point to recent developments nearby like Gotham West as a sign of the area’s residential potential. Significant concerns were also raised about Magnitude’s rooftop plans and the potential for noise complaints that those plans could bring about.

Despite the controversy, the owners still maintain that few other concepts could utilize the space as effectively as Magnitude. Given their current floor plans, the team has devised a club concept that would require very little construction and take advantage of the space as-is. The dealership’s small rooms will be designated for specialty activities like tarot-card readings. Additionally, Magnitude is expected to serve an array of different dishes to guests, including soups, salads, pasta, and main courses like fish fillet parmesan and creamy Tuscan garlic chicken.

In their community board application for a liquor license, the owners proposed operating hours of 4:00 PM – 4:00 AM, every day, seven days a week. Ultimately, the board temporarily rejected this proposal and urged the team to come back next month at the full community board meeting with an updated proposal plan that takes into account the community’s concerns. Of course, you will just need to keep your eyes out for our next update, once we find out whether or not the team obtains final approval.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the lease had already been acquired by the Magnitude owners. No lease has been signed at this point.

Jake Rogers

Jake Rogers is an author and playwright based out of Brooklyn, New York. A lively performer who is deeply passionate about history and literature, outside of his reporting he also produces short films and plays with his theatre troupe, the LSTC. He is currently producing a web series about a butterfly and moth who are roommates that will be released later in the year.
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