Local hotelier Perry Sanders welcomed the New Year by acquiring a majority interest in Johnny Martin’s Car Central, a downtown private club located at 1 S. Nevada Ave.

Described on its website as “an exclusive social experience born from automotive passion,” offering “a comfortable, yet sophisticated, setting in which to appreciate unique, rare automobiles along with exceptional food and spirits,” the club has been open for about three years.

“We’ve been working on an urban membership club with lots of membership benefits for sometime,” Sanders said, “and Johnny’s, with a few changes, fits in to that model.”

Sanders, singly and in partnership with Florida attorney Don Goede owns the Mining Exchange Hotel, the Antlers and other downtown properties.

He envisions an expanded urban club, one with benefits for both hotel guests and local members.

“You’ll have free valet parking at both hotels,” Sanders said, “preferred access to events at any of our venues, like the Gold Room, and possibly discounts on food and drink at the hotels and the restaurants. That’ll also include access to the indoor and the new outdoor rooftop pool at the Antlers.”

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Existing members will retain their memberships, and offered the opportunity to renew with additional benefits.

By undertaking the $30 million renovation of the semi-derelict Mining Exchange building in 2008-2012, Sanders jump-started downtown’s ongoing renaissance. He’s clearly determined to maintain his commanding position in the heart of the city, and Johnny Martin’s is another part of the puzzle.

“Why did I buy Johnny Martin’s?” Sanders asked rhetorically. “You can say that I know some of the members — and I really like all of them!”