Party on: Krave bankruptcy filing brings reorganization but no interruption
Thu, Jan 21, 2010 (1:02 p.m.)
Photo: April Corbin
“Most people hear 'bankruptcy' and think, ‘they're going out of business,’” says Sia Amiri, CEO and co-owner of Krave Nightclub, Krave Lounge and the Harmon Theater, who this Monday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. "Chapter 11 is reorganization. ... You can pay your back-debts; you can pay them off and go on with things." And according to Amiri, that is all that will be changing at Krave for the time being.
Home to Vegas’ largest gay nightclub — also the first to be able to claim on-Strip status thanks to its Miracle Mile/Planet Hollywood address — the Krave complex is comprised of the nightclub, lounge and theater, all of which, Amiri says, will remain open during the reorganization process.
Amiri says he is neither seeking new investors nor selling, but rather using bankruptcy protection to get more time to pay back in installments the $3.5 million in debts his company Krave Entertainment reportedly has incurred to multiple creditors including the IRS.
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Amiri blames the CityCenter project for his current financial situation. "Because of closing of the Harmon Avenue and the construction, we lost our shows." Of the Harmon Theater’s 2009 lineup, only Naughty Boy Hypnosis and The Amazing Johnathan shows remained once the Harmon corridor was temporarily closed to cars, thought Amiri attests that attendance suffered at both. He also adds that he discounted the rent paid to him by both those shows. Two other shows, Magic’s a Drag and Rockstar, did not survive the construction.
“They suffered, we suffered and now that things are back to the normal we anticipate no problems with that location. But if the economy is going to be bad... that we don’t know. At least we don’t have that interruption of the Harmon [closure] and people not being able to get to the place. That put a lot of financial hardship on us. We are just taking the [bankruptcy] protection to be able to deal with our creditor,” says Amiri, who is confident that with CityCenter and the Harmon corridor open, income will once again be sufficient to pay both rent and debts. Krave’s lease still has about three and a half years left, and according to Amiri, is not involved in the bankruptcy.
The less-than-ideal reorganization does come with a silver lining, however. Rockstar will return to the Harmon Theater at the end of January, and the Harmon Theater’s tenants once again are again paying Amiri rent money. “That’s encouraging,” he says.
According to Amiri, Krave Nightclub was only slightly affected by the rerouting of vehicular traffic, less so than the Harmon Theater. Former Krave emcee J.Son Dinant says that at one point all pedestrians were even directed to walk right past Krave’s door, and Amiri stresses that he will be boosting entertainment and activities there.
"We have a niche market in Las Vegas...,” Amiri says. “The club is great so our business is going to be as usual and the debts we accumulated in this time, hopefully under the chapter 11 is going to go into the payment plan. We really like what were doing, we’re very proud. ... And we intend to keep it."
Dinant, the under-dressed, over-the-top host of nakedboynews.com, emceed parties at Krave Thursdays through Saturdays, September 2008 through August 2009. During his tenure, Dinant says he noticed that the drop in the club’s attendance centered mostly around the locals — the club’s bread and butter — during the construction. “It definitely deterred people,” he says of the difficulty Krave’s regulars reported in getting to Krave at the height of construction.
Observing the general state of Vegas nightlife affairs and looking beyond Krave to a city filled with other clubs and lounges struggling to keep afloat, Dinant says, “It’s almost to the point in Vegas where we need to rethink clubs and entertainment. ... It’s almost time to get rid of these high-priced door covers and ticket prices and realize that we’re in a 2010 economy and that’s not going to cut it anymore.”
Now ain’t that the naked truth!