Former Franklin strip club to become a car wash

The former New York, New York Cabaret on East Second Street in Franklin will become a car wash. The Franklin Planning Commission recently approved plans for a car wash. Demolition of the roof has already started at the former strip club. ED RICHTER/STAFF
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The former New York, New York Cabaret on East Second Street in Franklin will become a car wash. The Franklin Planning Commission recently approved plans for a car wash. Demolition of the roof has already started at the former strip club. ED RICHTER/STAFF

Tommy’s Express to open at location of former New York, New York Cabaret.

Demolition has already started on transforming a former strip club into a new automatic car wash in Franklin.

Real estate investor Andrew Leonhard moved from New Jersey to Ohio two years ago is working on his first Tommy’s Express Car Wash at the former New York, New York Cabaret at 1221 E. Second St. in Franklin. He has plenty of Ohio connections as his mother is from Hamilton and has other relatives who live around the state.

Leonhard has the Tommy’s Express Car Wash franchise rights in Warren and Montgomery counties.

A Tommy's Express Car Wash is planned for the former New York, New York Cabaret, 1221 E. Second St., in Franklin. Plans were approved last spring by the Franklin Planning Commission and demolition on the roof has already started. These are drawings of the new automatic car wash submitted to the planning commission. CONTRIBUTED/CITY OF FRANKLIN
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A Tommy's Express Car Wash is planned for the former New York, New York Cabaret, 1221 E. Second St., in Franklin. Plans were approved last spring by the Franklin Planning Commission and demolition on the roof has already started. These are drawings of the new automatic car wash submitted to the planning commission. CONTRIBUTED/CITY OF FRANKLIN

“I’m really excited about it,” Leonhard said. “When it comes to fruition, my hope is that the result will make a positive impact.”

During his analysis, Leonhard said the Franklin location “looked very attractive” because of the strong demographics as well as the number of cars that pass by the property less than a mile from the Interstate 75/Ohio 73 interchange.

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“Car washes are not end destinations,” Leonhard said. “They feed off other destinations.”

Leonhard said the Franklin location is near some gas stations, a Walmart, restaurants and a drug store.

He said the site attracted him because it would be an opportunity to bring something positive to Franklin.

As part of the major site plan submitted to the Franklin Planning Commission last spring, Leonhard wrote, “We strongly believe that repurposing our site at 1221 E. 2nd St. will improve the appearance and enhance the surrounding community.

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“The addition of a Tommy’s Express Car Wash to the city of Franklin will also add a new and valuable service to the community, offering its residents a fast and high quality and competitively priced car wash.”

Leonhard said he’ll begin construction on the roughly $5 million investment - a 5,243 square-foot automatic car wash in Franklin as soon as building permits are secured. He said the deed transfer for the Franklin property is pending and that he is finalizing financing.

Once completed, he said the car wash would be open 14 hours a day, seven days a week and will have 20 full-time equivalent jobs.

“Ideally, I’d like to do site preparation work between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31,” he said. “Construction will take five to seven months.”

He recently closed on an outlot by a Kroger store on Brandt Pike near Needmore Road in Montgomery County. Leonhard said his plan is to build his first car wash in Franklin, then roll over to begin construction on the Brandt Pike location. He said he is currently searching for another location in Warren and Montgomery counties.

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Michigan-based Tommy’s Express Car Wash currently has one Ohio location in Toledo and the Franklin location will be the second in the state. They have approximately 81 locations in 30 states and are working on another 87 locations.

New York, New York closed its doors when Ohio’s Stay at Home Order was issued in mid-March 2020. Owners opted to close the business due to not having a liquor license, according to attorney David Chicarelli.

Franklin City Council had objections to the renewal of liquor licenses in 2017-18 and 2018-19 for the New York, New York Cabaret after a March 2017 state investigation that resulted in two arrests and several citations against its liquor permit.

The Ohio Liquor Control Commission issued an order on Oct. 31, 2019 to deny renewing the liquor permits. That order was affirmed during an administrative appeal in Franklin County Common Pleas Court on April 6, 2020.

Franklin also moved to dismiss the Sexually Oriented Business Permit Administrative Appeal with prejudice that was pending in Warren County Common Pleas Court at that time.