The El Mocambo is back up for sale, this time for $4 million
For those born after 1983 or so, the El Mo is just “that place in Chinatown with the lit-up palm-tree sign that sometimes has live music.” For Torontonian boomers, it’s a legendary rock palace, synonymous with glamourous 70s rock royalty like Mick Jagger, who recorded part of Love You Live at the club in 1977, and Lou Reed, who hosted an hour-long live radio segment from the El Mo in 1979. Those who remember the club in its heyday will be sad to learn that its future as a live-music venue has once again become uncertain. The Star reports that the building at 464 Spadina Avenue has been put up for sale, this time for almost $4 million.
The El Mo has traded hands a few times since opening in 1948, most recently in 2012 when the building was purchased for $2.95 million by Cadillac Lounge owner Sam Grosso and 99 Sudbury’s Marco Petrucci. Gross and Petrucci renovated the space, adding a rooftop patio and a new stage. In a recent comment on a BlogTO article about the sale, Grosso explained that there wasn’t sufficient investment capital to keep the place going. “I would love to keep going with the El Mocambo,” Grosso said. “I just need some investors or partners. I have some great ideas that would take it to a new level. I really do not want to sell it.”
Assuming no angel investors swoop in to prevent the sale, the club’s fate as a music venue will depend on the whims of its as-yet-unknown future owners. The sale listing advertises the three-storey building as being well-suited for several non-music-venue purposes, including student housing, a fitness club or a boutique hotel. In the gentrifying neighbourhood, there could be more demand for a chic gym than a gritty music hall.