The Astoria theatre, home to the G-A-Y night club has been sold for almost £24 million to a developer who intends to turn the venue into shops, offices and flats.
G-A-Y is owned by the Mean Fiddler Group a subsidiary of the American advertising and media giant Clear Channel. Managed by Jeremy Joseph the gay night has played host to Kylie Minogue, Madonna, Christina Aguilera, the Spice Girls, Girls Aloud, Sugar Babes together with X-factor winner Shane Ward.
The Astoria is let for £1 million a year until 2008 under terms agreed by the previous owner Compco. According to the most recent published accounts, the venue turns over £6.2 million excluding an annual payment of £5.75 million to Jeremy Joseph.
The Astoria’s new owners, Derwent Valley may face problems in redeveloping the venue as the site is being considered as a location for the a new Cross Rail station should the line be approved by Parliament. In the event that the bill receives Parliamentary approval, the site could be purchased using compulsory purchase orders.
John Burns, Managing Director of Derwent Valley said: “The Astoria is a valuable addition and a strategic acquisition, which adjoins our existing holdings in the area and will form a potential development site for the future. We are committed to the regeneration of key areas in London and are looking forward to the opportunities afforded by such a prominent location.”
Whilst the sale of the Astoria and its almost certain redevelopment either as shops or as a station may not immediately mean the end of G-A-Y, it may prove difficult to locate such a large venue to play host to one of London’s largest gay nights in the long run.