The National Trust owns the venue, leasing it out to the Fly by Night since the 1980s, but with the current lease due to expire in September, the National Trust has informed the club that they will be advertising for expressions of interest for the new lease.
In a letter to members, club management said in previous years, the lease had been negotiated without the threat of competing expressions of interest, including their most recent lease renewal in 2012.
‘Currently the National Trust has advised the club not to book acts after September 2014, or until the process is completed, which threatens the livelihood of the business,’ the letter said.
‘The club’s Board of Directors has written to the National Trust to organise an urgent meeting to discuss these matters and to reiterate that the club has expressed its interest and desire to continue use of the Military Drill Hall as the Fly by Night Musicians Club.’
The troubles come after Kulcha, Deckchair Theatre, Harbour Theatre and FTI have all left Fremantle in recent months.
National Trust chief executive Tom Perrigo said it was vital to ensure all leasing arrangements at the Trust’s heritage places were transparent and accountable and encouraged the club to apply.
‘The former Artillery Drill Hall had been made available at lower than market rent to Fly By Night Musicians Club during its current seven-year lease in recognition of the community value it brings,’ he said.
‘The Trust is seeking tenants who can demonstrate a sustainable commitment to heritage values and in particular, with regard to the Drill Hall, its social significance.’