Redevelopment Work in Progress at World-Famous Club Privilege Ibiza
After three years of neglect and disrepair, the world’s largest club, Privilege Ibiza, is about to undergo a multi-million euro makeover. The venue has lain dormant since its final closing party on September 27 2019, as its estranged partners fought a high-court action over its title. The victor emerging from that battle was the Matutes Group, joint owners of Hi Ibiza and Ushuaia. They now have ambitious plans to redevelop the site into a world-class entertainment venue in association with TNL under the Ushuaia Entertainment banner. Secrecy has surrounded those plans, leading to rumours circulating on the island regarding its future direction. Of those rumours, two substantial ones have emerged, and earlier this week, an Instagram post by Yann Pissenem, business partner of the Matutes family and owner of The Night League, brought the Privilege discussion to another level.
The Instagram post captioned “Creative meeting, If you know, you know” photographed Pissenem in a meeting with architects as they reviewed building plan drafts. The drafts were substantial in size, and while the post made no direct reference to Privilege, an educated guess would make it the apparent benefactor of the designs. It fits into a neat timeline, as the Matutes recently secured legal title to the property. In May, the pro-business PP party also secured majority control of the Sant Antonio de Portmany council, the municipality where Privilege resides. The new council has indicated it will fast-track several delayed projects due to objections from its socialist coalition partners during its last term in office. So the political seas are now calm and the forecast good, an advantageous time to set sail on the site’s redevelopment.
The first substantial rumour circulating within workers’ groups on the island is that Privilege will become a live music outdoor stadium and conference centre. This would involve demolishing the existing structure while retaining certain key features of the old club. Privilege stands in a worn and outdated state. Trying to repair and restore it would cost the same as rebuilding a modern venue fit for the luxury digital generation, a hallmark of the Matutes business model. Those rumours did not suggest it would continue its life as a club, but in his Instagram post, Yann Pissenem hashtagged the word “clubbing”, which will excite many people. Another key factor will be the rebranding of the venue; it is unlikely it will retain the old Privilege name, and if there is to be a club, what branding concept will it carry? This brings us nicely to the second substantial rumour surrounding the venue, which originated from the local press.
That rumour suggests that the Matutes Group will use the Space Ibiza brand at Privilege. Followers of the blog will recall the war of words between the Matutes and Pepe Rosellos UK media spin doctors after they targeted the Hi project and led a campaign against the Spanish family, making them out to be the villains in the Space saga. The ownership of the Space branding has long been a contentious issue, and people are still determining who owns it. Pepe’s propaganda team has leaked information on social media that Space Ibiza, under Pepe Rosello, would return to the island at several venues, “If you know, you know”, is a catchphrase I recall seeing. Then in a surprise move in April 2021, the Space branding mysteriously appeared on the giant TV screen attached to the Hard Rock Hotel, sparking fresh speculation surrounding its ownership and future direction.
It’s an exciting time for the old venue
However, the facts remain that Pepe Rosello has failed to launch the original Space branding in Ibiza, seven years since it closed under his management in 2016. If Matutes does own the brand, and it’s looking more likely that he does, he has in his possession a prized trophy to hang over the door of any new clubbing venue in Ibiza. No love is lost between old Abel Matutes and Pepe Rosello, and it would be a sweet victory if Matutes opened Space in Rosello’s back garden. There is no evidence to support this rumour, but Periodico de Ibiza was happy to publish the story after the Space branding appeared on The Hard Rock Hotel wall.
When Space closed in 2016, the Pissenem brothers redeveloped the site in just seven months, a record by Ibiza standards. If we are to believe the plans posted on Instagram relate to the Privilege site, then they are at an advanced stage, as the post also included the “work in progress” hashtag. I would envisage a similar timeline for the redevelopment of Privilege, as it enjoys easy access with installed utilities on site. The Matutes/Pissenem alliance, trading as the Ushuaia Entertainment Group will ensure the venue will benefit significantly from professional and forward-thinking management, and it is an exciting time for the old club. Like a Phoenix, the iconic building is ready to rise from the ashes of Privilege.
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