Mekka, the long-standing Park West nightclub, will close its doors after Winter Music Conference 2015. Owner Michael Slyder confirmed the news to New Times this morning via email, saying, "Our landlord, Miami Worldcenter, is set to begin construction in April or May, and our building, along with many others, will be demolished."
Yes, the first signs of so-called "progress" are starting to manifest themselves, and that puts Miami's 24-hour nightlife district, Park West, in danger of disappearing altogether.
Officially known as the Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), the Park West district was the legacy left behind by Commissioner Arthur Teele, who envisioned an area where people would live, dine, and play. Before the CRA was formed in 1998, the area was mostly a bunch of abandoned industrial warehouses.
The blighted neighborhood was able to attract businesses with the promise of 24-hour liquor licenses — the only place where such a thing was permissible in Miami-Dade and Florida. Club Space was one of the first nightclubs to take advantage of the deal. Later came Living Room, Goldrush, Metropolis, Studio A, Kukaramakara, Nocturnal, and others.
At the same time, the area's proximity to Biscayne Bay and Bicentennial Park's unobstructed water views attracted developers who built the Great Wall of Biscayne, AKA the Marina Blue, Ten Museum, and Marquis condo buildings. As soon as residents moved in, that caused trouble for clubs like Space and Nocturnal as complaints about noise became a regular occurrence. Both nightspots remedied the situation by enclosing and soundproofing their terraces.
Mekka, on the other hand, came to occupy the massive building at 950 NE Second Ave., where Metropolis was once housed. It turned the space into several smaller clubs, the most popular being gay hotspot Discotekka. Even recently, in the era when VIP tables and bottle service reign supreme, Mekka stuck to the industrial nightlife vibe that was popularized in the '90s. (When the location was Metropolis, you could freely roam around all five rooms, each with its own decor and style of music.)
The looming Miami Worldcenter development could signify an end of an era for Park West. With the late Teele's vision coming to fruition, does Park West need 24-hour nightclubs anymore? And will the city look for another area in which to issue these kinds of liquor licenses? At this point, who the hell knows.
You can say goodbye to Mekka on Sunday, March 29, when it hosts its final farewell party, a 72-hour music marathon.
Mekka’s 72-Hour Nonstop Closing Event. With Saeed Younan, Cubeguys, ALX, and others. 10 p.m. Sunday, March 29, at Mekka Nightclub, 950 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-371-3773; mekkamiami.com. Ages 21 and up.
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