Wiregrass Newsroom: Troubled Lounge to Re-Open as New Bar

Dothan, AL (WSFA) -- It sits empty now, but in a few months, the doors to 137 North Saint Andrews street will open again.  But the question still remains: Will it be a bikini bar like the Stardust Lounge?

"That's what it was before, that doesn't mean that's what it's gonna be," says the City of Dothan Director of Planning & Development, Todd McDonald.

City directors say owners can operate the building as a bikini bar with the right license, but they haven't heard if that's the plan.

"It's part of their liquor license, I mean, if it's approved, it's approved.  All we know right now is they've re-established the use," says McDonald.

The new owners were allowed one year to apply to re-open Stardust as a bar.  But it might be the last one this district sees. City officials ruled this area off limits to bars last July.  But it was too late to stop Stardust from re-opening as a bar. Leaders are just hoping it doesn't keep business from the area.

"They tend to carry with them a whole set of problems and issues associated with them, night scene and what not.  And that has an impact on people looking to invest money, downtown or anywhere," says McDonald.

But one nearby business owner has seen bars come and go next door for twenty years and isn't expecting any problems.

"It's never bothered me in the past. And that business is pretty much at night and not anybody's really coming out here to a law office in the middle of the night. It just does not present a problem to me," says attorney Don Bennett.

Even though owners have been given the go ahead to open the bar, there are still some obstacles they may have to climb.  Any building changes or signage must be approved by the Historic Preservation Committee.

Reporter: Melissa McKinney