By Angela Kilduff Posted April 10, Trash littered the road, and a homeless man had made his bed for the night on the sidewalk.
Shortly after 9 p. Thursday, April 2, two men in hoodies walked up to the building. These doors, facing Stevenson street, would have been the entrance to the Power Exchange.
But the neighborhood, eclectic though it may be, wanted none of it. That morning, Lisa Dunmeyer, a Brady Street resident, had found a flyer outside of her door. Between them, they have more than members. This call to action proved to be the opening salvo in a short, but effective neighborhood standoff against an unwelcome business.
Less than a week later, the community had won. When Dunmeyer saw the flyer, her reaction was immediate: In November, the sex club had closed its doors at 74 Otis St. No one had chased them out. But after eight years in the neighborhood, Dunmeyer had seen it all — public sex, prostitution, drugs—and she blamed it on the Power Club. Neighbor Anna Seljuk, had put up with it even longer. Seljuk grew up in the neighborhood. When Power Exchange first opened, she said, it was fine. At night, she saw a lot more.
Cars circled the block blasting music, and prostitutes walked up and down the street. When she saw the flyer, she thought it was an April Fools joke. To find out more she joined the Brady Street neighborhood watch group. Shawn Scheuer has lived on Brady Street for five years. He takes pride in the diversity of his neighborhood. Power Exchange was open Thursday-Sunday from 9 p.
Two-thirds of the calls coincide with days the club operated. The list of complaints included shots fired, robbery, trespassing, vehicle hit and run, a mentally disturbed person, a suspicious person and a suspicious vehicle.
There were two arrests during this time period: Neither has anyone else. During the first three months of , there were no calls or reported incidents. This is the front of the building, which faces Gough Street. But last week the residents again worked the phones: The flyer alleged that Power Exchange would open without proper permits and provided contact information for the building owner, the city planning department and the local supervisor.
As of Tuesday, she was still returning messages. Powers, it turned out, had signed a five-year lease beginning April 1, and in it he had assumed all responsibility for obtaining permits. His attorney had told him he only needed a business license, Haw said. Haw informed him otherwise. To adapt the former office space, an application for change of use must be filed. That night, a few potential customers passed by the club, but the doors were locked. Storeowner Claudia Schwartz was working late.
On Friday afternoon, Tom Hovorka, the building agent, said things were at a standstill. He too had received a number of phone calls. While some were cordial, he said many were rude, aggressive — even personal. Powers, who was in Las Vegas on Friday night where he operates another Power Exchange, said that no one had called him, but he knew about the calls his landlord had received. If I was so bad why did [the business last] 13 years? She had asked him for a detailed description of how the business operates.
Less than a week after the controversy began, the opening of Power Exchange was delayed indefinitely. Powers, he said, had been notified. Powers did not return a phone call for comment.
On hearing the news, Seljuk said she felt empowered. Could he open up somewhere else?