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Photo by Doyle Murphy
Hollywood Showclub has new owners — one of the nation's top strip club conglomerates.
A national strip club conglomerate is moving into the East Side market.
The parent company of Rick's Cabaret, Temptations and Club Onyx has bought Hollywood Showclub in Washington Park, Illinois, and two other properties.
RCI Hospitality Holdings, through two of its subsidiaries, negotiated a pair of deals to take over the business and additional real estate for a total of $4.2 million. The buying spree includes the 12,000-square-foot Hollywood, neighboring land and a shuttered topless club in Centreville.
"These assets are in a major new market for us, providing a foothold in the Midwest," RCI President and CEO Eric Langan says in a statement.
Hollywood, sandwiched between a sprawling salvage yard and a farm field on Bunkum Road, is one of the stalwarts of the East Side adult clubs. Long associated with the hate-spewing shock jock Bob Romanik
, it's on the north end of a strip that includes Larry Flynt's Hustler Club and Miss Kitty's, beckoning traffic off of Interstate 64 with a flash of lights and gaudy signs.
"St. Louis is a business and tourist hub, with good convention traffic and great sports teams like the Cardinals in baseball and the Blues in hockey," Langan says.
RCI is based in Houston, Texas. A spokesman for the company declined to reveal what changes are in store for Hollywood, but the company says it could open a second club on the adjacent land. The Centreville property was once home to Pyramid of Pleasure, a failed club on land that had been owned by Romanik.
The foul-mouthed former police chief had a carefully crafted interest in the clubs because, as a felon, he was not legally allowed to operate a strip joint.
By comparison, RCI is a publicly traded company with a listing on Nasdaq. Through its subsidiaries, it owns 42 establishments, including gentlemen's clubs and a chain of slightly more covered-up sports bars, called Bombshells.
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