Splash Nightclub’s Departure Brings ‘Unique’ Retail Opportunity


Gay nightclub Splash is mopping up and moving out after 22 years in Chelsea, leaving a rare two-floor retail opportunity at Argo Real Estate’s 50 West 17th Street.

The 9,000-square-foot space, at the crossroads of Union Square, Flatiron and Chelsea, sits at the base of a 12-story office building, features a 4,000-square-foot basement and 45 feet of frontage.

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“There has been a flurry of activity since Splash broke the word that they were leaving,” Marina Higgins, Argo’s director of leasing, told The Commercial Observer. “The space is very unique, with extremely high ceilings, very few columns or obstructions and a very large basement.”

Restaurateurs and health clubs are among the users showing interest in the space, as the city’s gay scene has migrated to other parts of the city, making a new nightclub user unlikely.

“Times have changed and that type of entertainment has moved out of the neighborhood,” Ms. Higgins said. “I envision either fine dining or a restaurant with locavore cuisine.”

Splash, a fusion of bright colors, disco balls, song, dance and even translucent shower stalls revealing silhouettes of muscular, scantily clad men (hence the name), which hosted the likes of Madonna, Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue and Katy Perry, announced last week that it will close August 11.

“Splash changed the Chelsea body type into steroidal huge guys in thongs,” drag comedian Hedda Lettuce told The New York Times. “Besides the Roxy, it was the hugest place to go dancing, every night if you wanted.”

“For many years, it was synonymous with the New York gay scene,” Ms. Lettuce added.

But the club had trouble drawing a crowd as the city’s gay scene migrated to neighborhoods such as Hell’s Kitchen and the East Village.

“It’s not packed,” Co-founder Brian Landeche told the newspaper. “I just don’t want to do it anymore.”

The 80,000-square-foot commercial building above the space is home to Argo, Cornell University and Publishers Clearing House, among others. Argo has tapped Ripco Real Estate’s Jason Pennington and Zach Nathan to market the space.