No Vacancy Lounge, the downtown Portland nightclub, stated today that they would close indefinitely, following a final event next week on Tuesday, February 19.
The announcement comes as a shock. No Vacancy, which began as a series of successful dance nights and events at different locations around the city, opened the venue in 2017 in the former McCormick & Schmick's space on Southwest 1st Avenue. That space had stood empty since the McCormick & Schmick's restaurant closed in 2009, and co-founders Rick Sheinin and Billy Vinton oversaw a dramatic redesign of the wood-paneled restaurant into a modern 350-person-capacity nightclub that attracted top talent, drew large crowds, and won Willamette Week's Bar of the Year prize in 2018. No Vacancy cites ongoing problems with their landlord and the property management company, the Melvin Mark commercial real estate company, as the reasons for the closure.
Beyond that, the reasons are not entirely clear. No Vacancy, in a statement today, says, "The actions of the Landlord and Melvin Mark in not disclosing a conflicting lease with the other building tenants prior to the signing of the lease by No Vacancy, and their subsequent activities since, have restricted No Vacancy from operating as the cocktail lounge and club for which it was established." They accuse Melvin Mark of "fraudulently induc[ing] us into signing a lease in the hopes of leasing up the building and then selling it."
The club sits on the ground floor of the Henry Failing Building, which was built in either 1886 or 1890 (reports vary), and whose upper floors contain several office spaces. We have reached out to No Vacancy and Melvin Mark to provide more specific details on the disagreement. [UPDATE: Rick Sheinin of No Vacancy tells the Mercury that the buildings' tenants "had two conflicting leases, ours being for a night club and the other preventing any business like ours from existing in the space.... This has been an issue since we opened our doors."]
No Vacancy says the conflict has generated severe legal fees, which in turn has led them to make the decision of closing the business. They intend to relocate any upcoming events after February 19 to different venues around the city.
The full statement from No Vacancy follows:
To Our Community,
No Vacancy Lounge, founded in late 2017 as one of Portland’s premier club destinations featuring globally renowned house and dance music acts, and the recipient of the Willamette Week’s 2018 “Bar of the Year”, will close its doors indefinitely after its final event on Tuesday, February 19th.
What has not been shared publicly is the ongoing legal battle between No Vacancy, the Landlord and Melvin Mark. The actions of the Landlord and Melvin Mark in not disclosing a conflicting lease with the other building tenants prior to the signing of the lease by No Vacancy, and their subsequent activities since, have restricted No Vacancy from operating as the cocktail lounge and club for which it was established. We believe that the Landlord and Melvin Mark fraudulently induced us into signing a lease in the hopes of leasing up the building and then selling it. The past and anticipated costs of this litigation have financially devastated us and have led to us having no option but to close our beloved business.
No Vacancy Lounge will host the following events at the space, including our Saturday show, which will now be a completely free admission event, and our final event on Tuesday, Prisoner of Love, which will also be free of charge.
2.14 - “Love Sucks Valentine’s Day” party (tonight)
2.15 - Justin Jay
2.16 - LA Riots (FREE)
2.19 - Prisoner of Love Party (FREE)
We love you, our family, and we will continue to do our best to support you and the Portland Dance Community. This last year has been full of amazing bookings, partnerships and community growth. We will try our hardest to maintain and grow those relationships. We hope you can join us over the next few days to dance and celebrate the good times. Brick and mortar no more, No Vacancy will return to its roots that began in 2014 as a pop up party around the city of Portland. Updates on existing tickets and future shows will be shared as soon as they are available. We will take care of our community just as you have taken care of us for so long, so we appreciate your patience.
No Vacancy Lounge