The El Mocambo is up for sale at almost $4 million
An iconic piece of Toronto's music heritage is back on the real estate market. The owners of the El Mocambo are, once again, selling up, asking almost $4 million for the Spadina Avenue bar and music venue.
According to the listing, which also touts the liquor license and zoning, there is "redevelopment potential" for the building and its famous neon sign. "Many great options for a landmark site," it reads. "Great for student housing, a fitness club, boutique hotel, etc." There's certainly enough space - more than 1,400 square metres over four floors.
Last summer, the El Mo was closed for several months of renovations, during which time it acquired a roof-top deck and new stage. Sam Grosso, who co-owns the building with Marco Petrucci, left the business in May 2013 but has since returned. According to a former staff member, the decision may not be entirely amicable.
"I would love to keep going with the El Mocambo I just need some investors or partners," Grosso wrote in the comment section of this post. "I have some great ideals that would take it to a new level. I really do not want to sell it. I love live music [and] I love the El Mocambo."
The El Mocambo opened in 1948 and saw its heyday in the 1960s and 70s. Bob Marley, Debbie Harry and Blondie, The Ramones, U2, and Billy Idol all played the main stage. The Rolling Stones performed there under the stage name The Cockroaches in 1977 and were famously denied the chance to return due to a strict (now rescinded) indie-only policy.
The famous neon palm tree sign was restored at a cost of $20,000 in 2012.
The buyers will become approximately the 10th owners of the venue since it opened.
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.