Saturday, November 18, 2017
Business

St. Petersburg club closes amid financial difficulties

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ST. PETERSBURG — What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But that apparently doesn't translate too well in St. Petersburg. The Vegas-style Venue, a 28,000-square-foot club with a swanky look and multiple dining, drinking and dancing options, has closed amid financial trouble.

Recent filings show it owes $565,741 to the state's Department of Revenue for unpaid sales taxes. State spokeswoman Renee Watters could not comment on how long the club has not been paying sales taxes.

The club, on Ulmerton Road, is close to being sold, according to co-owner Carmine Chioccariello.

"It's taking a lot longer than anticipated,'' he said.

He said he's not sure precisely what the new owners plan, but said he understands they will continue to bring in national acts.

Chioccariello said he and his partners are selling because most of them have full-time jobs and couldn't devote the time the club required. He said they intend to settle the tax debt.

Developer Fred Bullard Jr. owns the 25-year-old building that houses the club. He could not be reached.

The Venue opened in 2008 promising an establishment unlike anything in the area with its sushi and martini bars, tapas restaurants, champagne lounges, VIP tables and concierge services.

Entertainers who have performed there include Flo Rida and Jersey Shore cast member DJ Pauly D. Diners and dancers packed the place at times but as the economy got worse, business and offerings at the Venue declined.

By last fall, the menu had gone from offering lobster salad and Maple Leaf duck breast to wings, burgers and chili cheese dogs.

Earlier this year, it dwindled down to opening one night a week and finally closed recently.

Katherine Snow Smith can be reached at (727) 893-8785 or kssmith@tampabay.com.

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