West End private members’ club Adam Street is threatened with closure after its parent company went into administration and its central London premises were put up for sale by HBOS bank.
The club was launched by founder James Minter 12 years ago on the site formerly home to actors’ haunt the Green Room Club. The new Adam Street club was targeted as an organisation for entrepreneurs and freelances, but it has continued to attract a theatrical membership. It has been regularly used for first-night parties, and formerly hosted The Stage @ Adam Street, a series of podcasts for the theatre industry.
Meanwhile, the venue has also offered free rehearsal space and been used for season launches and fundraising by theatre companies including Theatre Royal Stratford East, Digital Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre.
Minter told The Stage that Adam Street club and Adam House, which provides office space for entrepreneurs, have been run profitably over the years, but the business was cross-guaranteed on a larger property portfolio, which has recently encountered problems. As a result, HBOS has called in the debt and placed Adam House and the club on the market for £12 million.
Minter said he and a group of investors were prepared to offer HBOS a fair price for the buildings, but he believes the bank wishes to sell to a commercial developer for residential conversion because that is the only way it would be likely to receive offers close to the current asking price. If the property were to be sold for residential development, the move would need a change of use permission from Westminster Council, which has not been granted.
“For over 12 years, we have built a thriving hub of economic activity, where individuals started with an idea and built sizeable, profitable enterprises,” said Minter. “Policies that destroy active wealth generation are bad for our economy. The government and the business minister should be interrogating this practice very closely in the current economic environment, as should Westminster Council.”
Minter stressed Adam Street club continues to operate as normal, despite the uncertainty around its long-term future.