JACKSONVILLE, Fla – The home of the former LGBTQ nightclub, Club Metro, will be re-developed into a self-storage facility.
For nearly three decades, the Metro Entertainment Complex on Willow Branch Avenue near Post Street was known as a haven for Jacksonville’s LGTBQ community. It was known for its drag shows, karaoke, music, games and more. Now, the building stands boarded up. No one can be seen coming or going. The former owner, Jerry Rosenberg, said struggles from the pandemic led to the decision to close and sell.
“I miss it,” Rosenberg said. “I miss it terribly. So, we’re still very hopeful that after the pandemic, things will come back because we still own the name and all their intellectual properties and Metro.”
Rosenberg said the closing was a decision that didn’t come easy. During the pandemic, the owners of Jacksonville’s Sun-Ray opened a drive-in movie theater in the club’s large parking lot.
“When the movie theater came in, I was so excited that they were going to do a drive-in movie theater and keep the legacy going,” Rosenberg said. “And then that fell through basically, on the closing date of March 1 of last year.”
Rosenberg is not the only one who misses it.
“It was a home, you know, the first year that we owned it almost 16 years ago,” Rosenberg said. “We closed during the day on Thanksgiving. And people were so upset with me for doing that, because that was where they would go to be with their friends.”
Now, the property will become a new home to a self-storage facility. According to News4JAX news partners the Jacksonville Daily Record, Atlantic Self Storage bought the property in September and paid $1.85 million. The facility would be four stories tall. The company’s website said it already operates about 50 facilities in Northeast Florida.
While things seem to be moving forward for the former club’s site, Rosenberg said there’s no word on when he may be able to reopen or even where the new location would be. But he does know he’d want it to be on a smaller scale, and keep it confined to three rooms: a disco, a game room, and a piano bar.
“We were always at full capacity on Gay Pride weekend, on Halloween, and on New Year’s Eve” Rosenberg said. “And if we could have just been in that capacity, more through the year on the weekends, we could have afforded to hire a proper General Manager and be able to do upgrades and things like that. This is why we need a smaller, more manageable location,” he continued.
Rosenberg said his goal is to reopen the club once the pandemic is more under control. And once again provide a safe space.
“We were always there for the community,” Rosenberg said. “And we were, in addition to being a nightclub, we were truly like the LGBT community center. So, it’s, it’s greatly missed.”
As of now, there’s no exact time frame on when the new storage facility would be built.