Springfield Republican: “Amazing.net, Springfield adult video store, closes”

Capital Video’s Amazing.net porn shop in Springfield, operating since 1993, has closed. The Springfield Republican reports today:

Capital Video Corp., of Cranston, R.I., decided a few weeks ago to shut down the business, Amazing.net, at 496 Bridge St., said Lesley S. Rich, general counsel for the company.

“There has been a downturn in the general economy and that affected the business,” Rich said. “The location has been slow.”

The business sold adult videos, magazines and sex toys, and provides coin-operated video viewing booths.

The corporation and city officials have been in a prolonged legal battle after the city temporarily revoked its entertainment license in November of 2007, which was needed to operate private video viewing booths. Then-Mayor Charles V. Ryan said his decision was based on police and inspector reports showing the booths had prompted crime and lewdness in 2006.

The city was sued, and lost the case in Superior Court in 2008, but filed an appeal with the Massachusetts Appeals Court. A decision is pending with the business having been allowed to operate during the appeal under various conditions.

Capital Video has no plans to close its adult video store in Northampton, which has a growing business, Rich said.

[click for the full article]

See also:

Springfield Republican: “Springfield accuses Amazing.net adult video store customers of ‘lewd and lascivious behavior'” (4/4/10)

Gazette: “Porn company promises to pay delinquent taxes” (6/25/09)
Lesley S. Rich, an attorney for the Cranston, R.I.-based company, said Wednesday that its porn-store chain bounced a few checks and fell behind in sales tax payments to the state last year…

Gazette: “Porn chain owes $261,486 in sales tax”  (6/24/09)
State revenue officials have slapped a hefty tax lien on the company that runs a King Street porn store for unpaid sales taxes, making the company one of the state’s top 100 sales tax delinquents.

Capital Video Corp. owes the state Department of Revenue $261,486 in sales taxes, according to a filing Monday in the Hampshire County Registry of Deeds. The back taxes cover a 10-month period in 2008…

The unpaid taxes are tied to more than a dozen businesses owned and run by Capital Video Corp. in the state, including Amazing.Net on King Street, and the money represents more than $2 million in sales, according to state officials.

Gazette: “Year later, porn store brings scant change to neighborhood” (12/20/08)
[Douglas A.] Kohl [a co-owner of commercial property at 139 King Street, Northampton] has been trying to lease the former furniture store for more than a year without success. Being located in the shadow of a porn store doesn’t help, he said.

“It’s hard to tie one to the other, but it certainly doesn’t make our life any easier,” said Kohl, who lives nearby on Summer Street. “It’s certainly a factor in people’s considerations around leasing. … If we wanted to sell it, it would be impacted…”

Springfield Republican: “Springfield to continue fight against adult viewing booths” (10/13/08)

Hampden Superior Court Lets Capital Video Reopen Viewing Booths in Springfield; A Proposed Solution (9/30/08)

Full Text of Springfield’s Decision to Deny Capital Video’s 2008 Viewing Booth Entertainment License
As evidenced by the testimony and exhibits presented at the revocation hearing, (copies of which were introduced in the January 3, 2008 hearing as Exhibits 15 and 16) the increase in the incidence of disruptive conduct in the area in which the premises are located, based on the testimony and reports of the police officers as well as the testimony and reports of a neighborhood resident, indicated that the sale of drugs, prostitution in the area around the store, together with offensive, lewd activities occurring in the various “viewing booths”, as well as patrons being assaulted while using the booths, created a nuisance and has caused a hindrance or obstruction in the exercise of the rights which are common to every person in the community, for example to safely walk the sidewalks of their own neighborhood, or to patronize the store selling adult oriented material without being assaulted…

Full Text of Springfield’s Decision to Revoke Capital Video’s [2007] Viewing Booth Entertainment License
[Testimony of Ms. Erica Walch, immediate past president of the Armoury-Quadrangle Civic Association:] “…our AQCA office is directly across the street from the store, and I am able to watch the goings on when I am at the office. Men and women who live in our neighborhood … are frequently approached by men who slow down their cars and ask, ‘Are you working?’

Lesser Newman: Capital Video Has Seen the Light and Will Make its Springfielf Viewing Booths Safe (7/28/07)
We do not assert that it is impossible for a viewing booth operation to be safe. However, as Gabriel Rotello writes, it is extremely difficult and failure is the norm.

Viewing Booths and HIV: An Open Letter to Thomas Lesser of Northampton, Attorney for Capital Video (7/1/07)

Gazette: “Porn store’s viewing booths raise stink in Springfield” (6/19/07)

Springfield Republican Reports on Apremont Triangle Mailing about Amazing.net
“Residents…told The Republican that they believe the store draws prostitutes as well as vagrants who publicly urinate on their properties….

“David B. Panagore, chief development officer for the Springfield Finance Control Board, agreed with an assertion by Tuckey [Michael M. Tuckey Sr., president of the Armoury-Quadrangle Civic Association] that a sex-oriented video and products store discourages companies that could revitalize the area from moving in.”

Springfield Police Commissioner: “…it is fair to say that ‘Amazing’ constitutes an attractive nuisance that contributes to blighted conditions there”
“We have a great interest in the quality of life in the vicinity of the triangle and have previously taken some steps to mitigate it. Much remains to be done and it is fair to say that ‘Amazing’ constitutes an attractive nuisance that contributes to blighted conditions there.”

Capital Video Springfield: Secondary Effects Extend to Prostitution; Actions the City Can Take
[Fred Rowe:] Outside, we have both male and female prostitutes standing across the street, by our building, and we have a vacant lot that we use for parking. They stand there, and they wait for [customers] to come out, and they solicit them, and they try to take them out behind our building, and do their business. It’s unbelievable.

Capital Video’s Springfield Porn Shop Repels Sought-After Businesses
“The [potential grocery] market is really the key, we think, to the whole building. The people that come, the market operator–their issue is number one, the Video Expo [Amazing.net] across the street, and the crowd that you see around it…”

NoPornNorthampton Reaches Out to Springfield Neighborhood with Advice on Adult Enterprises (4/30/07)
On April 30, NoPornNorthampton mailed over 1,700 letters (PDF) to voters in the Apremont Triangle area of Springfield. This neighborhood is home to a Capital Video porn shop called Amazing.net. The letter makes suggestions based on what we have learned about how to mitigate the harm from adult enterprises, and is bundled with a postcard (PDF) that voters can mail to Springfield Mayor Charles Ryan. See our May 1 press release about this mailing…

Squirt member comments suggest Amazing.net’s Springfield store cycles between being (profitably) permissive, then restricting activities to avoid being shut down by the city. Similar cycles are hinted at in the comments about Amazing.net’s Kittery, Maine store (explicit). Lasting changes appear to have taken hold only when Kittery passed health regulations and removed the doors from the viewing booths.