"I would say the neighborhood will become a safer, cleaner place as a result of me being here, because I do my own clean-up every night, and I'm going to be patrolling the neighborhood. There are not going to be any car break-ins once I open up." As for the club itself, although the new Hammerjacks will hold fewer people than its predecessor - 1,800 instead of 2,500 - it probably will seem more comfortable and spacious, thanks to its multi-level ground floor and large balconies. "The original Hammerjacks was a perfect square, and this location is more of a rectangle, so there's a lot more stage front," Principio says.
A contractor by trade, Principio handled the construction himself and is quite proud of the club's design. With seven staircases, it's very easy to get in, out and around, and the oversized restrooms take what he calls "a stadium approach" to dealing with crowds. There's a 50,000-watt sound-system, more than 30 "intelligent" multi-function lighting units and enough air conditioning to guarantee that patrons will stay cool no matter how hot the action gets.
Customers, of course, aren't likely to notice the infrastructure, but they'll definitely see the difference in the finishings. In addition to hardwood floors, the club includes several elaborate bars originally built for the old Fishmarket. "What you've got is a bar that you might see at center court in a Hilton or something," Principio says.
"But you're not at the Hilton. You're at a nightclub, with dance music and rock `n' roll playing. We want people to go back and say, `This place is unbelievable. You've gotta see it.' All in all, there should be an incredible wow-factor when you come in the building. That's really what I'm looking for."
Where: 316 Guilford Ave.
When: 8 p.m.-2 a.m. tonight, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Fridays; 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturdays; open Sundays starting Nov. 26.
Cover charge: Varies; free tonight
For information: Call 410-234-0044 or visit the Web site at www.hammerjacks.com