After 10 weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations, Emo’s owner Frank Hendrix called to confirm that he’s sold the business to C3 Presents. The transfer takes place immediately. “I’m meeting [C3 head] Charles Attal at the building with the keys,” he stated just before 6pm.
As the Chronicle went to press on Feb. 1, Hendrix revealed that the two parties had been in talks since the outset of December and only at the close of this past month had a third and final deadline passed. Few insiders save perhaps for the venue wranglers at South by Southwest knew that the two local concert promotion concerns were even in negotiations.
At that point, however, Hendrix, who initiated the deal, left little doubt in his laudatory remarks about the prospective buyers as to the inevitability of the deal. The question wasn’t if, but rather when.
“It made sense for C3 to have it,” Hendrix told the Chronicle late last week as contract talks not only resumed but neared finalization. “I wanted Charles Attal to have it.”
“We’re doing so many shows at Emo’s already that when Frank approached us, for us it was just natural,” confirmed Attal on Thursday. “This is what we do for a living.”
The sale doesn’t include the building – unlike Emo’s original Sixth Street location, sold in 2011, Hendrix isn’t the owner of the new building – but the lease on East Riverside runs a decade. He and C3 will share a landlord since Hendrix announced recently he’ll be relocating Antone’s out of the Warehouse District and into Emo’s former satellite venue, the Beauty Ballroom, which bookends the block with Emo’s. Both Hendrix and Attal affirmed that C3 will continue to have a hand in booking Antone’s.
“Hopefully, we’re joined by the hip from now on as well as being neighbors,” cracked Hendrix.
C3 Presents constitutes the third owner of Emo’s in the club’s two decades as a premier live music venue known around the world. Emo’s Houston opened in a decommissioned orphanage on Dec. 31, 1989, and Emo’s Austin followed in May 1992. Former Chicago club kid Eric “Emo” Hartman sold it to Hendrix in 2000 for a sum in the mid-five figures. Later Hendrix acquired the actual property and cashed out for the Eastside. A source with knowledge to this most recent purchase put the final price in the high-six figures.
“Emo’s is one of the most famous rock clubs in the United States, period,” states Attal. “They’ve spent years developing the brand. It’s morphed a little bit with the new building and they do a few more mainstream shows over there, but anyone that’s been in the music scene anywhere in the country knows of Emo’s. That’s important.
“We did 45 shows there last year, so we’ll do the same thing we’ve been doing. If the band’s the right fit for that size room, then we’re gonna do the show. Buildings – Stubb’s, Emo’s, the Continental Club – are places for people to congregate and see all types of music. Back in the day, Emo’s did all types of music. We’ll continue.”