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Strip Joint Owner Wants Historic Designation For Building

March 26, 1987

ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) _ The owner of a topless nightclub is hoping the 85-year-old building can be gussied up to qualify for tax credits as a historic landmark.

Landing Strip owner Tom Nappo is seeking the National Register of Historic Places designation to qualify for 25 percent federal tax credits on a $450,000 renovation planned for his two-story brick building.

Beth Grosvenor, historian for the National Register, said the Register is not too concerned that the structure is a strip joint.

″We look at the building’s historical significance,″ Grosvenor said. ″Our evaluation is not likely to have a lot to do with its current function.″

Nappo, who has been operating the Landing Strip since 1981 in this suburban Detroit community of about 24,000, said he plans to restore the exterior of the building to a turn-of-the-century motif and refurbish the interior as a Las Vegas-style show bar.

His employees approve of the plan.

″Oh yeah, I think it’s a great idea, I’m into history and stuff,″ said a dancer who would only identify herself as Crystal. ″It’s going to be definitely beautiful for downtown Romulus.″

The club, 15 miles west of Detroit near the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, is housed in what was originally built in 1902 as the Kingsley Hotel.

Nappo, 36, said he hopes the historic designation would alter the club’s troubled history. He drew the wrath of local residents three years ago when he used profane language in an advertisement painted on the roof to lure passengers landing at the airport.

″We want to clean up our image a little bit,″ Nappo said. ″I want to do something that’s not too outrageous. It’s got to be something that will fit into the community.″

Charles Cotman, who nominates Michigan buildings for the National Register, said Nappo’s application could be approved in September if his exterior rehabilitation plans meet federal standards.

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