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Damien Center buys former LGBTQ night club on east side

Location will be used to expand employment services program
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Posted at 10:50 AM, Jun 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-13 19:15:18-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The Damien Center, Indiana’s oldest and largest AIDS service organization, has announced plans for an LGBTQ landmark with an eye on creating more opportunities for the LGBTQ community and preserving history.

The historic building located at 1446 E. Washington St. was the former home of Zonie's Closet, a longtime LGBTQ bar and nightclub.

In 2021, the Damien Center bought the building after Zonie's owner decided to close.

"Zonie’s Closet has been a long-term supporter and neighbor of the Damien Center and we were honored when the previous owner approached us about purchasing the building when the decision was made to close, said Alan Witchey, president and CEO, Damien Center. “While the building will take on a new purpose, we are dedicated to keeping it LGBTQ-friendly and preserving the culture and legacy of Zonie’s Closet, making sure everyone is welcome.”

Renovations on the building are already underway.

When completed, the facility will be used to open a coffee shop and establish an Employment Services Center that will allow Damien Center to expand their current Employment Services Program that provides adult education and training opportunities with accompanying social supports that allow individuals to gain and maintain meaningful employment, attain a living wage, increase self-sufficiency, and experience improved health and wellness.

The renovation project is expected to be completed in early 2024.