One of Sarnia’s premiere live music venues has closed.
The Station Music Hall has a conditional offer on it, bringing to an end a long run of live music and entertainment events.
“The money doesn’t make sense and the landlord wanted to sell the building,” said Stuart Manchee, who owned the business but not the structure.
The building itself has been on the market since last year and his lease was up this summer, he said.
The Aurora, Ont. native said he was offered a chance to buy it, but needed electrical, plumbing, HVAC and roof repairs could cost $200,000, he said.
“I was up there every year with a bucket of tar and roofing stuff with a bunch of buddies, just patching,” Manchee said with a laugh.
Formerly known as the Campbell Street Station, (as well as The Stubborn Mule and Rustic), the south-end venue has hosted numerous major acts including Scott Weiland of The Stone Temple Pilots, The Trews and the Tragically Hip.
Manchee purchased the business in 2015 and leased the 15,000-square-foot space. He rebranded it The Station and remodelled the interior for crowds of up to 500 people.
Since then, he has organized 120 shows that included live music, comedy and most recently Smash Wrestling.
Manchee said they “hit the ground running” the first year with nearly 50 shows booked. But the pace was hard to sustain, he said.
“It just wasn’t fun anymore and I wasn’t making the money I wanted to make,” he said.
“I had to do $75,000 a month just to break even. People just don’t have the disposable income to come out every weekend.”
Manchee said he doesn’t know what the new owners plan to do with the building.
“It’s all speculation.”
Manchee added the city’s other musical venues are doing a fine job, but admits the local scene won’t be the same.
“It’s a shame. I really did try my best to get as many massive acts (as possible),” he said. “Think about it: Machine Gun Kelly, Nick Carter, Sam Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland.
“We had some really big names.”