Sydney CBD live music venue The Basement is set to close, but landlord AMP Capital has denied claims that the site is being redeveloped.
It’s unclear when the curtain will come down, and The Basement management have not responded to Business Insider’s request for comment, but an AMP Capital spokesperson says redevelopment rumours are untrue, saying the organisation was a strong supporter of the venue and live music in Sydney.
“Like our partners at The Basement, we are equally disappointed the partnership and venue won’t continue after a decade of working together,” they said.
“We have worked with the management of The Basement for more than six months to ensure an appropriate transition could take place and have amicably agreed to end the lease.”
News that the venue’s demise was imminent emerged on the weekend when musician Danny G Felix took to Facebook on Sunday to say tonight’s Monday night jam would be the last at the venue, claiming the venue would close “in less than a week”, saying owners AMP were turning the site into office space.
AMP said there was “absolutely no intention to convert The Basement into office space” but it was too soon to say whether another music operator, bar or restaurant would take over the site.
The Basement established its reputation as a jazz venue after first opening in Bulletin Place in May 1972.
Musical greats such as Herbie Hancock and Dizzie Gillepsie have played the intimate, 600 person venue, as well as Neil Diamond and Prince more recently, the repertoire has broadened to include burlesque, rock, rap and comedy.
The original Circular Quay venue was demolished in 1988 and The Basement moved next to the current site next door in 1992. Previous owners Tim Read and Jane Burridge sold the business in 2013 to restaurateur David Wallace, owner of Steel Bar & Grill and Opera Kitchen, who gave the music venue a major refurbishment in 2015.
Wallace co-owns it with lawyers Andrew and Dominique Robinson. Last month Andrew Robinson joined the board of the struggling ASX-listed real estate business McGrath.
The Basement has been lauded as “the beating heart of Sydney’s live music scene” and the oldest licensed music venue one of the world’s best jazz venues. Upstairs operates as a daily restaurant, bar and cafe.
The Basement’s music calendar still has gigs scheduled up to December, with Diesel and Danni Im among those booked to perform there in coming months.
We’ll update this story when and if we hear back from The Basement’s management.
News of the looming closure comes as a NSW parliamentary committee holds an inquiry into the music and arts economy.