Plymouth's famous Cooperage music venue and pub to be auctioned again
THE famous Cooperage will once again go under the hammer this month in the latest attempt to sell the former music nightspot.
The Bretonside venue has twice been pulled from auctions in the past seven months but will be up for offer again on Wednesday, July 25, with a freehold guide price starting at £295,000.
That figure is unchanged from the two previous aborted sales, but still represents a knockdown on the £400,000 being asked just two years ago. And the guide price is a third of the £900,000 former owner Manoucehr Bahmanzadeh was reported to have paid for it in 2005.
The Cooperage was once among Plymouth's most popular and renowned gig venues. The three-storey building with Tudor-style frontage, hosted acts as diverse as Muse, Buzzcocks, the Damned, Reef, Geno Washington, Desmond Dekker, the Stranglers, Sham 69, Courtney Pine and Afrika Bambaataa.
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But it staged its last gig in 2005, the year its then owner, lottery-winning millionaire Mike Antonucci, sold the venue to Bahmanzadeh, who was jailed for nine years, in July 2008, after being convicted of allowing the "rampant" use and sale of Ecstasy in Union Street's Dance Academy, which he also owned.
A financial institution which lent Bahmanzadeh cash to buy the Vauxhall Street property then ordered its sale.
Receivers were brought in and put the property on the market in April 2010, but despite attracting interest from people who wanted to run it as a club again and from developers, a "best and final bids" offer, meaning anyone wanting the property had to submit their best offer, failed to find a taker by October 2010.
It was due to be sold at auction last December but taken off the list due to reasons "beyond the control" of auctioneers. It was then re-listed for February but again pulled due to "legal difficulties".
Now receivers have instructed its sale again, through Clive Emson Auctioneers, among 40 properties being auctioned at St Mellion International Resort.
The lower two storeys include separate dance floors, bars, lounge areas and a kitchen.The second floor is a large one-bedroom flat, with sauna.
In February, a campaign to "Save The Cooperage" was launched by music fans complaining about the lack of live venues in Plymouth.
Auctioneer Graham Barton said the property could be used for music again – but was also ideal for residential development subject to planning consents.
He said: "There may be keen interest from developers given its proximity to Sutton Harbour where multi-storey residential development has occurred in the form of multiple marina-style apartments."