LAKEWOOD, Ohio (WJW) — The non-profit West 117 Foundation, a self described hub for the LGBTQ community, is announcing plans to renovate the Phantasy Nightclub in Lakewood.
The location will be turned into Studio West 117, featuring an inclusive retail, entertainment, and dining space.
“As a Black woman, as a Clevelander, as a somebody part of the queer community this touches home,” said Lauren Tatum, Board President of the West 117 Foundation.
“I’ve just now realized the power that my voice has and my ability to build solid foundations for the future so that the future generations don’t necessarily have to experience not feeling welcome.”
Three buildings in the Phantasy Complex on Detroit Avenue and Hird Avenue will become part of Studio West 117, according to co-developers Daniel Budish, President of Gaslamp Capital and Betsy Figgie, Founder of Your CFO Resource.
Figgie and Budish provided a tour of buildings they plan to renovate and say they are excited to be part of a such an important community development.
“We are doing what we’re saying we’re going to do and putting LGBT businesses into these spaces and creating these community spaces,” said Budish.
Budish says costs for the finished project could range between $15 to $20 million. He hopes to have a portion of the space completed by the end of the year.
“The chamber is a place that I am personally connected to because I have performed in this space,” said Lady J, the Director of Programming, Outreach, and Education for Studio West.
She says she is focusing on making sure Studio West 117 is a welcoming place for everyone.
“We’re really thinking very intensely about how to make sure that Black, indigenous and people of color communities feel included and baked into the cake that we are producing at the ground level.”
Figgie says she is happy to not only say she is providing support to the LGBTQ community but actually make a lasting impact.
“To give them a voice, to give them a stage, literally and figuratively to be themselves,” she said.