Will Privilege Ibiza Reopen As A Club In 2023?
The date of Friday, September 27, 2019, may go into the history books as the day the music died at the iconic Privilege nightclub in Ibiza. After years of ligation, it was reported in June that the old club is now wholly owned by the Matutes Group, which holds similar entertainment interests at Hi and Ushuaia. In the absence of any announcement from the company, speculation is mounting as to the club’s future. Will it continue as a club or be refurbished into an outdoor hotel venue like Cova Santa, or could it be demolished and redeveloped for its prime real estate value?
The venue listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the Worlds largest club, with a capacity for over 10,000 people, established its reputation as the outdoor nightclub KU, which opened in 1978, playing host to numerous stars of the ’80s live music scene. It was the stage where Freddy Mercury and Monserrate Caballe debuted Barcelona, the theme song for the 1992 Summer Olympics and one of the biggest hits of Mercury’s solo career. During the legal battle over ownership, it was claimed that the previous owner allowed the club to fall into disrepair so that he could devalue the property and buy out his minority shareholder.
The hazordous nature of the club’s structure made the headlines in 2013 when a young Dutchman working for Armin Van Burren’s resident State Of Trance party nearly lost his life when a part of the roof fell on him. The same roof was responsible for bankrupting its original KU owners when it collapsed in the early nineties. So with more clubs closing rather than opening worldwide, will the new owners want to invest the substantial millions required to fix the crumbling structure? While the Matutes group will possess the finance, they are regarded as wise investors, not prone to flights of fancy. Sadly, Privilege is beginning to look and feel like a white elephant after three years of lying idle.
The other option open to its new owners is to remove the roof and revert to its original KU design, hosting live events, restaurants and hotel rooms like its sister venue at Ushuaia. But does the Matutes group need another Hotel, Club or entertainment venue in Ibiza? In my opinion, they don’t, as they have more suitable properties in Ibiza with better views and locations. The family own Playa Den Bossa and have consolidated their nightlife, restaurant and entertainment interests there; I can’t see them diluting that product by opening another in San Rafel outside their local municipality.
Sadly, Privilege is beginning to look and feel like a white elephant after three years lying idle.
So that leaves us with the doomsday scenario where Privilege could be demolished like Space and redeveloped for private or commercial buildings. Currently, there is a housing crisis on the island, and the Privilege site sits on appropriate building land next to an industrial estate. It should be easy to rezone residential land with the welcome support of local residents as access and utility infrastructure are already present. If I were to bet on which of the above three options the new owners may go for, it would be the latter. But much will depend on site surveys, costings and valuations before the Matutes Group decides on the Club’s future. In my opinion, that evaluation will take place over the winter months, and we should know by February 2023 if the Club will reopen again. If it does, we can all rest a little easier.
Ibiza is no longer a Spanish backwater; it has transformed into a fashionable diva, a darling of the Instagram generation and possesses the second-highest property prices in Spain.
The nine years Gee reigned as its resident DJ was a torrid and tempestuous love affair born of Ibiza and fuelled by 12-hour parties of music, drugs, sex, and wild abandon.
It is hoped that the garden terrace will be able to reopen this summer once remedial work is completed to the satisfaction of all parties concerned.