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Landlord behind Leadmill eviction revealed as major music venue company

Rather than evict in order to redevelop the site, it appears London-based Electric Group could plan to take control of managing the iconic Sheffield venue itself.

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The Leadmill, which opened its doors in 1980.

Elouisa Georgiou

The owner of the freehold for the Leadmill's site is a London-based music venue company which has refurbished and reopened venues in London and Bristol.

The detail emerged after a shock announcement from the Sheffield music institution yesterday that it has been given one year to vacate the site by its owners, prompting a wave of public upset and concern that the venue could be lost.

Electric Group bought the freehold for the site of the Leadmill in March 2017. According to its website, the company is "a Joint Venture between Co-Founders, Dominic Madden, CEO, and Jake Lewis of the Lewis Family."

The Lewis family runs retailer River Island, as well as hotels, property development and asset management businesses. At the time of writing, founder Bernard Lewis and family are listed by Forbes as having a "real time net worth" of $1.3bn, "#2171 in the world today."

Brixton-based Electric Group owns and operates Electric Brixton (formerly The Fridge), the SWX nightclub in Bristol, and the former O2 Academy Newcastle, which it says will reopen in October 2022 as a new venue called NX following a £1.5m refurbishment.

A press release from "specialist business property advisor" Christie & Co dated November 2019 said it had been retained "to acquire multiple sites for [Electric Group's] live music and events concept."

"Suitable properties could include nightclubs, theatres, performance venues, bingo halls, cinemas, churches as well as existing live music venues," it noted.

The press release quoted CEO Dominic Madden as saying: "Very little can compare to the thrill of a live gig and with our extensive experience in the music and entertainment business and with sound financial backing from the Lewis family, we are committed to growing our business around the UK in key city centres.

“We want to be in locations that have a thriving music scene as well as a ‘going out’ culture.”

Land Registry records show that the registered owner of the site of 6-7 Leadmill Road, and the adjoining 16 Suffolk Road, is MVL Properties (2017) Limited, part of Electric Group, with a stated value of £600,000 as of 17 January 2018. Dominic Madden is listed by Companies House as the sole director of MVL Properties (2017) Limited.

An old Wikipedia entry states that before opening Electric Brixton, Madden refurbished and ran The Coronet venue in South London, as well as working as a producer on the West End.

Ahead of providing a statement to Now Then, Dominic Madden told us: "To be clear we are a leading operator of independent live music venues. We are music people. We celebrate venues, we don’t ‘close them’."

Both the Leadmill and Electric Group have been approached for full comment.

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