Scene inside the original Town Danceboutique
Scene inside the original Town Danceboutique Credit: Darrow Montgomery/File

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The highly anticipated follow-up to Shaw LGBTQ nightclub Town Danceboutique is still happening, despite social media rumors suggesting the owners abandoned their plans, first announced in August 2019. Co-owner John Guggenmos tells City Paper the Church Nightclub bound for the former Saint Phillips Baptist Church on North Capitol Street NE is under construction and on track.

“You can’t put my raised voice somehow in an article?” he says, wanting to properly convey his heated tone about the validity of the chatter that the project is off. “‘As he said with a raised voice. NO.’”

The buzz about Church Nightclub, known colloquially as “Town 2.0,” started last Friday. The user behind Twitter account @DCHomos, which has close to 91,000 followers, tweeted excitement Friday morning about visible work happening at the church site. Then hours later, DCHomos followed up, saying, “Update: Town 2.0 will NOT happen.”

“The building is too dilapidated and COVID/cost increases have cause (sic) them to pull out of the project,” they claimed.

Drag queen and RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni Tatianna asked the account to credit their source. In response, DCHomos responded with a screenshotted Instagram DM from Aaron Beck—who they say they trusted because of his “previous connection to Town.” DCHomos added in a statement: “I don’t know the owners and he seemed well connected. So I was transparent and posted what he sent me”

In his post, Beck claimed the construction was unrelated to Church Nightclub. “That has been going on for 2 months and ppl are just now noticing and assuming,” it reads. “That is Douglass Construction Company. Chachi said the building was too dilapidated and with the covid delays and price increases with materials they pulled out fully and are ‘looking for their options elsewhere.’” 

Chachi is Jim “Chachi” Boyle, Guggenmos’ business partner. While Boyle did not respond to a request for comment, Guggenmos relayed that Boyle “has no idea” where the rumor came from. “He was shocked it was him,” Guggenmos says. “I don’t know where people come up with stuff … Some queens will take two, add two, and come up with five.”

Beck did not respond to multiple requests for comment. 

Guggenmos says there have been construction delays in the structural engineering of the space. They are using steel to reinforce the old church. Everything has to be custom made and at one point, steel production stalled. While construction is back on, Guggenmos doesn’t have a timeline for when Church Nightclub will debut. Once the steel structure is finished, they should have an update for those eagerly awaiting opening night.

The extra time, Guggenmos says, has allowed them to refine the design to create “the pinnacle of everything we’ve done in 31 years.”

“The first time I walked in there—the first time I walked into Town—you just know it,” he says. “This one will blow you away.”

Editor’s note: This reporter and Aaron Beck were housemates in 2018.