The seemingly cursed Heartlands gay clubbing complex, which opened to much fanfare in August 2005, has this week again officially closed its doors in Johannesburg.
The news was confirmed by David, a representative from the Heartlands, who said that the complex suffered from a “lack of business”.
The news may not come as much of a surprise to regular club-goers who will have noticed that the venue was often far from full over the last few months. The Heartlands had recently closed one of its coffee-shops, Sugar Reef, leading to growing speculation about its financial well-being.
The Heartlands was launched with the promise of becoming “Joburg’s Soho”, and boasted four separate venues in Braamfontein, including two clubs. The area had previously hosted a number of successful gay venues, which had been shut down amid allegations of illegal drug activities by some of the owners.
The new Heartlands, which was given official city support, went on to host many of last year’s Joburg Pride celebrations, but thereafter seemed to falter in sustaining interested from the fickle gay clubbing public. It has been speculated that up to R5 million rand was spent in upgrading the complex.
While some cited the location as being of concern, David was unwilling to speculate on the reasons for the failure of the entertainment complex, although stating that the gay community “obviously didn’t support us”.
He added that the venue was up for sale. The Heartlands is owned by Platinum X Entertainment, which also owns the Adult World adult-store chain. Simply Blue, the independent gay club for “men of colour” next to the Heartlands will continue to operate as usual.