Steeltown, failing to woo crowds, closes its doors

December 24, 1991|By Eric Siegel z

Steeltown, the Dundalk entertainment complex that opened with a great deal of fanfare last May, has closed its doors.

The club at 2401 North Point Blvd., which filed for bankruptcy in August and a month later scaled back its ambitious plans for regular bookings of nationally known acts, closed for business Saturday night.

"The income just wasn't there," general manager Larry Milburn said yesterday. "At this juncture, [the club is] better off being closed."

Mr. Milburn, who said he was owed money by the club, said there was a possibility a new investor might come forward to reopen the facility but said he could not provide any details.

Manager Bob Schmuff, who said he received only part of his last paycheck, said he thought there were other employees who were also owed money. Mr. Schmuff said he left the club last week because "I could see the end coming.

"It never caught on," he said of the club that included a sports bar, restaurant and concert stage. "It wasn't healthy enough to survive the economic crunch."

The 32,000-square foot facility, whose decor paid homage to the blue-collar workers that were supposed to be the core of its business, was conceived as a more successful version of the failed Fishmarket entertainment complex downtown and a possible competitor for the highly successful Hammerjacks night club and concert hall in South Baltimore. Shortly after it opened, it employed 175 full- and part-time workers.

But Steeltown -- owned by Hickory Investment Corp., headed by William J. Peterson of Bel Air -- ran into almost immediate financial trouble. In its August bankruptcy filing, it listed assets of $437,000 and liabilities of $1.1 million. Among the liabilities were $114,000 owed in federal and state withholding, sales, amusement and unemployment taxes.

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