For years, merchants in Ybor City have complained about the violence and general unsavory behavior emanating from two hip-hop clubs, Club Fuel and Club Empire, saying that they needed to go away for the entertainment district to thrive again.
Fuel was closed down a couple of years ago, and stunningly Club Empire is also no longer in existence, after a terse announcement was made this morning at the Tampa City Council meeting by John Brewer, the attorney and brother of the owner of the club, Joel Brewer.
The reason for closing the club was simple - nobody was going to it anymore, John Brewer said.
The dramatic reduction in attendance (reportedly up to 90 percent) has come in the last month, after the October 2 killing of 20-year-old Leslie Jones jr. was slain in the club's VIP room, while a second man, 19-year-old Ahmaud Black, was seriously wounded.
Needless to say, business owners in the district we're thrilled to hear the news of the club's closing.
"That's fantastic," said David Sunday, owner and chef of Sunday's Fine Dining restaurant, one of the closest establishments next to Empire on the eastern side of the 7th Avenue entertainment district.