For more than 30 years, Show & Tel has catered to Philly’s salacious club scene with an all-nude show and mega store stocked with X-rated videos and fetish gear. But it looks like the strip club could be nearing the end of its run at the corner of South Christopher Columbus Boulevard and Mifflin Street, where the property has been put on the market for $3.5 million.

listing from MPN Realty says the former industrial building, constructed in 1930, offers “versatile usage possibilities” to prospective buyers. The area has seen significant development in the decades since Show & Tel and Club Risque, another strip club located just north on Columbus Boulevard, formed an enclave for adult entertainment. There are now shopping centers on either side of the route, which runs parallel to I-95 and the Delaware River.

“Columbus Boulevard is a major road that really connects South Philadelphia and North Philadelphia,” said Roman Melnyk of MPN Realty. “I think there’s a lot of development happening there with the whole waterfront closer to Spring Garden (Street). It’s just the trickle-down effect.”

An employee who answered the phone at Show & Tel on Friday morning referred questions to the club’s owner, who couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Melnyk said it’s his understanding that Show & Tel eventually will close after the property is sold. MPN Realty president Ken Mallin said later Friday that the future of the strip club as it exists now will depend on the buyer. Show & Tel’s website notes that the place was remodeled at some point over the years.

“It’s a unique property because of the loading space in the back,” Mallin said, explaining that it could be appealing to an owner wants to use it for more than one purpose.

How it plays out could depend on licenses and what kind of work needs to be put into the three-story property. The list price works out to a bit under $110 per square foot.

“It’s zoned industrial, but you do need to have an assembly license and a cabaret license in order to occupy it (as a strip club),” Melnyk said. “I do think it’s location specific and they try to confine that to one area, since obviously there are a couple strip clubs in that area.”

Before its days as a strip club, the 32,000-square-foot property at 1900 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd. once was the home of food wholesaler Spatola-Thompson, OCF Realty reported. It was built as a warehouse and still offers appealing characteristics for that purpose, including the large loading area with five garage doors.

“My guess is that it would not stay a strip club,” Melnyk said. “I think it will be converted to something with industrial use. With that being said, it’s a strip club right now. I could also see that being converted to just a regular nightclub. I’ve had some preliminary interest from other nightclub operators just from the way it’s set up now..”

Melnyk said it’s too soon to say whether Show & Tel’s liquor license will be part of the sale of the property or if it will be sold separately.

Columbus Boulevard — originally Delaware Avenue, before the lower part of the road was renamed in the 1990s — was instrumental in the development of the Port of Philadelphia. By the early 20th century, it became the city’s main food and cargo route before I-95 was constructed in the late 1950s. Along the median of the boulevard are the old Philadelphia Belt Line train tracks — still used by freight operators — and the Penn’s Landing Trolley also once ran along that stretch.

Philadelphia’s push to redevelop the waterfront is headlined by the 11 1/2-acre park over I-95 at Penn’s Landing. Part of that project includes extending the South Street pedestrian bridge to the east side of Columbus Boulevard, letting visitors off at the riverfront. Major development projects are also planned on the waterfront north of Penn’s Landing.

Melnyk said he anticipates areas south of Columbus Boulevard will continue to be developed as these projects progress.

“It’s similar to how developers in Fishtown follow the (SEPTA Market-Frankford Line). They’ll develop anything along Front Street that’s under the El and keep pushing it further and further,” Melnyk said. “I think the same thing is happening in South Philadelphia with changes along Washington Avenue in terms of how they structured the actual street — with bike lanes, turning lanes and making it more user-friendly for pedestrians. I could certainly see something like that happening on Columbus Boulevard.”

Many of Philly’s other strip clubs are positioned along the I-95 corridor, including Cheerleaders to the south on Front Street and Delilah’s to the north on Spring Garden Street. There also are clusters of them in Northeast Philly, Center City and along the Schuylkill River in Southwest Philly. If Show & Tel’s days in Philly are almost numbered, there isn’t a shortage of places to go for a similar vibe.

“I think the interesting part about this listing is it gives a lot of buyers the creativity to say, ‘Listen, here’s a really well-located building in an area that has obviously seen a lot of development,” Melnyk said.

For more information on this listing please contact Roman Melnyk at [email protected]


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Written by Michael Tanenbaum – PhillyVoice Staff