Downtown getting a new club

Renovation under way at former Heart Five location for summer opening
2008-02-14T00:00:00Z Downtown getting a new clubBy Coley Ward CWARD@AZSTARNET.COM Arizona Daily Star
February 14, 2008 12:00 am  • 

Longtime nightclub owner Luke Cusack plans to open his first Downtown venture, an upscale "party club" that he says will be unique in Tucson.

The new club will open at 61 E. Congress St. in the space that Heart Five occupied from 1998 until shutting its doors last year.

"Everybody has been waiting for somebody to do something Downtown," says Cusack, who owns Pearl nightclub at 445 W. Wetmore Road.

The new nightspot won't be a dance club, or a rock club, or a lounge. It will be a "party club," he says.

What does that mean exactly? Cusack won't say, but he says his club will be modeled after Miami's South Beach hotspot Snatch, which features a lot of exposed brick, American flags, deer antler chandeliers and a stripper pole. Snatch's Web site plays a remix of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama."

"As far as the music format, you'll either think I've lost my mind, or it's the coolest thing you've ever seen," Cusack says.

Renovation is already under way, and Cusack says he hopes to open in three to four months.

"I'm toying with the name Sapphire Sky," he says, "because the club will have a big sky deck. It's a second-floor roof that looks out over the city."

Unlike Pearl, the new spot won't have a dress code. "I think what people want to do is get back to having a good time," he says. "And the economy is tough, so drinks will be fairly inexpensive."

Cusack says he isn't worried about a summer opening.

"The club is a small place," he says. "It's not going to hold that many people. So I think we can open any time."

Cusack launched the upscale Pearl last spring in what was formerly The Keys. Pearl is an ultra-lounge complete with an oxygen bar, a 2,000-square-foot patio and a $5,000 drink called the Pink Pearl, which is two shots of Louis XIII Millennium Cognac in Versace crystal shot glasses and one bottle of Cristal Rose champagne in Swarovski crystal champagne glasses.

Pearl has yet to sell one.

Cusack also has owned The Outback on North Stone Avenue, The Keys East on North Pantano Road and the Solarium restaurant on East Tanque Verde Road.

Cusack was unsuccessful in his effort to turn the former Farmer John Meats plant at 1102 W. Grant Road, known for its cow-pasture mural, into the Western Opryhouse, Prime Chop House, Honky-Tonk and Museum. He abandoned plans to invest about $3 million in the project in late 2003 when Tucson police recommended a liquor license not be granted.

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