A downtown entertainment staple is on the market.
Hermann’s Jazz Club at 751-753 View St. is listed at $4.5 million, with the advertisement reading that it could “appeal to both an owner-occupier or to an investor/ developer.”
The 15,000 sq. ft. property was built in 1920, and has been a jazz and live-music icon in the city since 1986, when German entrepreneur Hermann Nieweler moved his business over from the Bastion Inn on Government Street. The venue has been a hit ever since.
Nieweler passed away on June 10, 2015 and since then the business has been a under the ownership of his three children, who have carried different opinions on whether they wanted to sell or not.
In the meantime, local jazz advocates and members of what was then known as the Jazz on View Society hoped to save the building and the business by buying the property. In 2017, the Nieweler children considered listing the property at $3 million, which the society fundraised for but fell well short of.
In July this year, the Jazz on View Society, now known as the Arts on View Society, fundraised more than $100,000 so it could take over management of the business. With funding in place, the Society has since gone to work booking shows and upgrading the building, with hopes of using both the upstairs and downstairs of the properties in the future.
William “Bill” Turner is the chair of the Arts on View Society, and said that as the managers they’ve been well aware that the property would eventually be listed.
“It was certainly crying wolf; there were so many times we thought it as going up for sale, through the period up until now,” Turner said. “We’re hoping if someone buys it that we’ll have a great working relationship with a building investor, but there’s no guarantees.”
Presently the Society has a five-year lease on the building, something that Turner said would be difficult, but not impossible for a new owner to break.
“We are considering what our options are in terms of our vision for the Arts on View, but our whole performing arts concept hasn’t changed,” he said.
In the meantime, renovations will continue, as will bookings for many months ahead.
“Our primary goal right now is getting Hermann’s to continue running as it is and making it even better,” he said.
Black Press reached out to the Niewelers, but did not hear back at the time of publication.