Legendary New York club CBGB is to become a boutique fashion shop, it has been confirmed.

The club, on the Bowery in the East Village, was forced to close last year after its lease expired and the new rent proved too expensive.

But the 315 Bowery address, widely considered as one of the birthplaces of punk, will see some of its spirit saved as fashion designer John Varvatos is to open a store in its 3,300 square feet locale.

Varvatos has made a habit of including rock stars such as Iggy Pop, Slash and Ryan Adams in his advertising campaigns and is thought a perfect fit by many CBGB regulars.

Frequent CBGB performer Jesse Malin, commented: "After getting to know John over the years and seeing him host wonderful live music performances, I can't think of anyone better to keep the spirit and soul of rock music alive on the Bowery in the old CBGBs location."

CBGB OMFUG (Country, Blue Grass and Blues and Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers) was founded in 1973 and soon became a cornerstone of the punk movement, with bands such as the Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, Television, Patti Smith Group, Richard Hell & the Voidoids, and Green Day launching their careers at the iconic venue.

The club closed in October 2006. The final show on its stage was performed by Patti Smith.

"This store is going to be totally unique, different from our other boutiques," Varvatos said. "We're going to make it a great way to look back at this remarkable history but also forward to what's happening in music today."

Elliott Azrak of Azrak Capital Group, which took over the CBGB lease in 2006, added: "The space had been empty for the better part of a year as we searched for the right tenant. John Varvatos is ideal because he has a real reverence for the history of the space and every intention of honouring its legacy."

23/12/2007 10:23:13