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Location DB > United States > Massachusetts > Saugus > Neighborhood
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created by Mike Dijital on 9/24/2015 2:55 AM
last modified by Mike Dijital on 9/24/2015 2:57 AM
Publically Viewable Publically Viewable
This location has been labeled as Demolished, and therefore can be viewed by anyone.

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Type: Building
Status: Demolished
Accessibility: Easy
Recommendation: forget it
 Physical Information
Route 99
Saugus, Massachusetts
United States
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    It may be the last dance for Saugus's Palace club
    By Thomas Grillo, Globe Correspondent, 2/14/2004

    SAUGUS -- The Palace nightclub, an often notorious presence for the past 22 years, where disco queens and rap
    masters grooved under the same roof, may soon be attracting a more sedate crowd: do-it-yourselfers.

    An Everett developer has an agreement to purchase the Palace, the adjacent Spin Nightclub, two dozen homes, and
    a church behind the entertainment complex so it will have room to build a Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse,
    according to town officials.

    The deal is contingent on approval by Lowe's Companies Inc., the world's second-largest home improvement
    retailer, and the securing of permits for a 175,000-square-foot store.

    About two dozen homes and First Baptist Church would be razed to clear the 10-acre site. Saugus officials said the
    deal could be concluded quickly.

    "Lowe's will not face any opposition," said Fred Varone, the town building inspector. "Residents are very unhappy
    with the Palace, and we're fed up with nightclubs."

    When Russell Robbat opened the Palace in 1982, it was a New York-style, DJ-driven discotheque, boasting six clubs
    at one location. It presented such musical acts as the Stylistics and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. Back then,
    the cavernous club had 320 employees dressed in tuxedos and 10 rooms that catered to different crowds. It billed
    itself as one of the world's biggest nightclubs.

    The Caribbean Beach Party room had sand on the floor and attracted dancers in sneakers and shorts year-round,
    while a 1970s room featured waiters in bell-bottoms. One of the rooms featured a mechanical bull inspired by the
    John Travolta-Debra Winger film "Urban Cowboy." Last year, the Palace launched Rio, a theme room featuring
    hip-hop music and martial arts-style dancers.

    But the sprawling, 66,000-square-foot entertainment complex, which has the capacity for 4,200 patrons, has often
    been the scene of violence, including the murder of a 24-year-old Fidelity Investments employee on New Year's Day

    Just last weekend, a man was stabbed, another shot, and a third hit over the head with a blunt object during an
    altercation that allegedly began inside the nightclub and spilled into the parking lot.

    A Lowe's spokeswoman, Jennifer Smith, declined to comment on the pending purchase, saying the Wilkesboro,
    N.C., company does not discuss prospective store locations.

    But Andrew Bisignani, the town manager in Saugus, said negotiations began last spring to acquire the nightclubs
    on Route 99, homes on Robins Road, Oriole Avenue, Swan Road, and Osprey Road, and First Baptist Church.

    The New Palace Inc. and Palace owner Robbat are listed as the owners of seven homes, two parcels of land, and a
    parking lot, according to real estate records.

    Robbat declined to be interviewed, saying through a spokesman that the club has not been sold.

    Kennedy Development Group Inc., of Everett, has been quietly buying up properties on the four streets behind the
    Palace, located on the Melrose border, Bisignani said. Kennedy Development did not return repeated calls seeking

    Maureen Dever, a Saugus selectwoman who has seen the Lowe's plan, said she is delighted by the proposal. She
    was not surprised to learn that Robbat wants to sell.

    "The new Board of Selectmen is looking for a harmony of commercial and residential, and that harmony has not
    existed with the Palace," Dever said. "Last year, the board cut back on the club's hours, so I guess that got them to
    think about selling."

    Last fall, voters concerned about the violence associated with the club, including a drive-by shooting of a palace
    security guard after he had ejected several patrons, overwhelmingly approved a bylaw making it illegal for
    businesses to be open between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. without permission from the Board of Selectmen.

    Christie Ciampa, a Saugus selectman, said Robbat called him on Monday about last weekend's violence, but was
    mum about the Lowe's plan.

    "He refused to give me any details about the sale, but my understanding is they are close to wrapping up this deal
    with Lowe's," Ciampa said. "We're thrilled. The Palace is not the kind of business we want in Saugus anymore.
    We're all holding our breath until they break ground for a Lowe's."

    Not everyone is celebrating what appears to be the inevitable destruction of the cottages and bungalows behind the
    Palace. Beatrice Horton, who was raised on Robins Road and brought up her children in the same gray-shingled
    house, said she would miss the neighborhood.

    "I didn't want to give up my home, but they're buying up everything. And this area has changed quite a bit since I
    was a kid," she said. "It's not as private as it once was and there's lots of bad stuff going on because of the Palace."

    Horton declined to say what the developer agreed to pay for her home. But she said it was "considerably more"
    than the $140,500 assessed value of the house.

    Nearby, the trustees of First Baptist Church agreed to sell the 75-year-old church, said its pastor, the Rev. Johnell
    Penns, and are searching for a new house of worship.

    "Everyone is heartbroken that we're moving," Penns said. "We have many members who have been here so long,
    including a 95-year-old member who has lived in this neighborhood since she was 8. But the developer has bought
    up everything, and it didn't seem like we could stay here anymore."

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    Thu, Sep 24th, 2015
    posted by Mike Dijital
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    This location's validation is current. It was last validated by Mike Dijital on 9/24/2015 2:58 AM.

     Latest Changes
  • on Sep 24 15 at 2:58, Mike Dijital validated this location
  • on Sep 24 15 at 2:58, Mike Dijital added some pictures to a gallery
  • on Sep 24 15 at 2:57, Mike Dijital created a new gallery
  • on Sep 24 15 at 2:57, Mike Dijital made this location available
  • on Sep 24 15 at 2:57, Mike Dijital changed the following: Notes for Mods, Type, Street Address, City, Province / State (please use full name), Country, Latitude, Longitude, Co-ordinate Accuracy, Prefer Satellite, Publically Viewable, History, Status, Accessibility, Interesting Features, Recommendation, Media Coverage, Future Plans, Description, Web Links
  • on Sep 24 15 at 2:55, Mike Dijital updated the main picture
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