Lotus Lounge closed for good, Zimmerman to buy property

by Jeff Sykes

As YES! Weekly first reported earlier today, the Lotus Lounge will not open its doors again. Club owner Paul Talley announced via a press release sent from DGI that he would “voluntarily close it immediately.”A 19-year-old man from Hertford County lost his life in the Railyard parking lot early Sunday morning following a dispute with another man leaving Lotus Lounge. It was the second gun-related death involving patrons leaving the club late at night. “I am truly saddened by the events of this past weekend in the parking lot near Lotus Lounge. Needless loss of life is incomprehensible to me,” Talley said. “I had safeguards in place to ensure patron safety but this event took place beyond anyone’s reach. As part of our security program Lotus employed several off duty Greensboro police officers. These officers, as well as several on duty officers, were within mere feet of this tragedy. “With that being said I understand that I have a civic responsibility to assist with the re-birth of downtown Greensboro. I also have responsibility to protect my neighbors, fellow business owners and nearby developers from this sort of abhorrent behavior. It is with these responsibilities in mind that I have made the difficult decision to sell the property that houses Lotus and voluntarily close it immediately. Once this real estate transaction takes place the business will be permanently closed.”While I appreciate all of the words of encouragement I have received over the past few days, the real focus here should be on the victim, his family and all of the families that suffer as a result of senseless violence.”The press release from Downtown Greensboro Inc. confirmed that Andy Zimmerman will purchase the property through his company, AZ Development LLC. Zimmerman currently owns the majority of that block, and also has another property at the back of the Railyard parking lot under contract.There is discussion that Zimmerman will move The Forge to the building that currently houses VybzNation, at 219 West Lewis St.Zimmerman said he was excited about the purchase of 120 West Lewis St., site of the Lotus Lounge, and feels it will “compliment the redevelopment of South Elm Street.”He could close on the Lotus building in November.DGI President Zach Matheny said in a telephone interview that the immediate focus should remain on the young man who was killed, but that resolving the Lotus Lounge sale was a “fair and thoughtful contract and transaction thus far.”The negotiations had briefly hung up on whether Lotus would be able to open for a handful of special events, including scheduled activities during the weekend of NC A&T’s homecoming. “Ultimately, it is sad but I think Andy will do great things with the building and Paul is still an important part of our downtown with investments that he’s done,” Matheny said.