The popular Gold Coast venue NightQuarter has been forced to shut down after failing to reach an agreement with its landlord Scentre over a massive rent increase.
Closing its doors on 1 February 2019, the news comes after Scentre, the owners and operators of Westfield Australia and New Zealand, delivered a contract extension to owners Michelle Christoe and Ian Van der Woude that would see rent doubled.
“We had an agreement for an extended term at the site subject to agreement on revised rent," Van der Woude said.
"The landlord was seeking more than double the rent for an extended five-year term. We tried numerous times to negotiate a revised agreement that worked for both parties, even directly contacting Scentre CEO, Mr Peter Allen, however there was limited opportunity to get to a deal that would have enabled us to stay at Helensvale."
“Michelle and I are disappointed and saddened that we weren’t able to keep NightQuarter at Helensvale. We have invested so much into the venue both financially and emotionally over the past three years.
“We looked at all the options, but in the end we needed to make a decision that was in the best interest of the company, our employees and our community of stallholders. We would have gone broke if we accepted what Scentre were offering.”
In addition to the increase in rent, the venue has been under threat to close its entertainment due to noise issues with Liquor Licensing. To resolve the problem additional building works costing approximately $500,000 were required.
Speaking exclusively to The Music Christoe and Van der Woude said, "We keep to our sound limits however receive complaints when residents can hear the venue's music.
"Whilst installing sound barriers and upgrading equipment, we have continued to receive notices that put our business under threat. To address these issues further would have meant several hundred thousand dollars investing into improved building works.
"We had hoped that through the new music plan that we would be made a music precinct of the Gold Coast which would have lessened the risk however the initiative for NightQuarter Helensvale was rejected by Gold Coast City Council."
The owners have not yet been able to secure a suitable replacement site.
The news is a massive blow to the Gold Coast music scene which had been severely lacking a venue of this size. With a capacity of 2,000 people, since opening in November 2015 the venue has hosted acts including The Cat Empire, Amy Shark, SAFIA, The Living End, Dune Rats, DZ Deathrays, Simple Plan and many more.
The Angels' Dave Gleeson said playing the NightQuarter was "the best gig in Australia right now".
Christoe and Van der Woude also stressed the importance of music venues like NightQuarter on the Gold Coast to The Music.
"Incubating talent is the core of music venues like NightQuarter," they said.
"From day one we have been committed to original live music on the Gold Coast. With over 6,000 performances on our stages, we consider the performers of the Gold Coast as friends and family and can't wait to see how high they soar in their careers. With our main stage The Paddock hosting 2,300, we have attracted touring acts back to the Gold Coast region. Over half a million patrons have attended our ticketed events over the past three years both by locals and tourists alike.
"We hope our legacy is instilling a love of live music to the region.
"One of our first ticketed events was with The Cat Empire. Seeing The Paddock filled with music lovers for the first time, families of all ages, is something we will never forget. Recently we held The Best Night Ever. A line-up of amazing acts headlined by Dune Rats and DZ Deathrays. A sellout. It was everything we love about being involved in the live music industry.
"We have watched acts like WAAX grow up and to have them finally perform on the NightQuarter stage was a proud moment. We saw local bands supporting their heroes. We saw live music fans having 'the best night ever'! We will never forget these nights."
NightQuarter will continue to operate until 1 February.