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Bill Gavan tries to buy the Nightingale


In September 1998 Midland Zone reported on Bill Gavan's audacious attempt to buy the Nightingale and create a gay complex linking two adjacent buildings. The Nightingale turned the offer down and the other building became DV8.

Subway City entrepreneur Bill Gavan has announced a bid to take over the running of the Nightingale Club in Birmingham as part of a multimillion pound project in the heart of the Gay Village. The plans include a new club directly opposite the Nightingale Club, to be called Gavans, together with a twenty room hotel complex and two restaurants with access from both inside and outside the new proposed club.

Bill Gavan has called a meeting of interested full members of The Nightingale on Sunday 6th September to discuss his amalgamation plans for the two clubs, together with details of the cash offer being made to current Nightingale full members. The financial offer includes giving each member which joined prior to 30th April 1998 250 in cash in addition to free membership in 1999 and 2000 to both The Nightingale Club and the new Gavans. If successful, Bill Gavan's plans include transforming the Nightingale's current main dance floor into a swimming pool within a new health and leisure complex in a 250,000 refit and refurbishment of the club.
Bill Gavan told Zone, "Birmingham needs and demand a vibrant social scene, and as the second city we need to move forward together to create a gay village we can all be truly proud of. I'm interested in the advancement of the Birmingham scene and am pleased with general reaction to my ideas and plans from the gay community".

Commenting on the offer, Nightingale Club chair Carl Symonds, told Zone, "Bill Gavan's general ideas about expanding and enhancing the gay village are excellent, and we wish him well in his new plans of a club opposite the Nightingale. As regards the offer he has made to our full members for this club, we are investigating the document, although my first impression is that it is not in the best interests of our current membership, and dramatically undersells the Nightingale. However, if the members are interested in furthering the offer they could call a special general meeting. Carl Symonds added, "No other offers have been received", dispelling rumours that other companies including First Leisure, which own the Dome II Nightclub, where also interested in taking over the club.
Derek Whitton, Nightingale secretary added "The first we knew about this was an unsolicited letter addressed to the 'full members' on 18 August, and no discussion or consultation process has taken place between The Nightingale committee or Bill Gavans."

Contributed by: Midland Zone, 10

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