The City of Victoria has purchased the building that is home to Hermann’s Jazz Club, View Street Social and Hermann’s Upstairs.

The city stated in a news release that they have purchased 751-753 View Street “to support Victoria’s live music industry by retaining this downtown iconic performance hub.”

“This purchase demonstrates Council’s commitment to preserving and investing in music spaces downtown as reflected in our 2023-2026 Strategic Plan,” said Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto. “This venue’s importance was also identified during development of the Victoria Music Strategy, and I hope it will continue to contribute to Victoria’s vibrant arts and culture scene for years to come.”

The announcement comes a little over a week after the Arts on View Society posted on their websites that they would no longer operate Hermann’s Upstairs effective March 31, 2024 so they can concentrated on running Hermann’s Jazz Club and View Street Social.

In February 2017 the estate of the late Hermann Nieweler, who died in June 2015, put the building up for sale. The Arts on View attempted to raise $3-million in pledges to purchase the building but were unable to raise the necessary funds. Following a legal dispute between members of the Nieweler family, brothers Stephan and Edward Nieweler announced in March 2019 that the Arts on View Society had signed an offer to lease and operate Hermann’s Jazz Club for five years with an option for an additional five years.

751-753 View Street
The City of VIctoria purchased the building at 751-753 View Street for $3.95 million

The purchase price for the building is $3.95 million and was funded by the City’s Land Sale Reserve. The reserve is funded by the sale of other City of Victoria properties and can only be used for acquiring land or capital expenditures related to land.

“This strategic acquisition allows the City to play an important role in the preservation of space for live music, while also diversifying the organization’s revenue streams and real estate portfolio,” said Deputy City Manager Thomas Soulliere.

In November 2021, the city launched its first-ever Victoria Music Strategy. The five-year initiative set five major priorities based on a study conducted by a music advisory committee and music strategy consulting company Sound Diplomacy. One of the priorities is to preserve existing music spaces and encourage development of new ones.

“The City’s commitment to our vision – to create and sustain a performing arts centre in downtown Victoria – could not have been better expressed than their recent purchase of the building in which we operate the iconic Hermann’s Jazz Club,” said Arts on View Society Executive Director Clay Barber. “We applaud the City’s vision and support of the arts and look forward to a long and prosperous relationship.”

Victoria city councillor Matt Dell said in a post to social media that the potential for arts, city revenue and eventual land assembly are huge.

“Victoria has lost so many of our best music venues in the city, and we cant afford to lose any more,” said Dell in his Facebook post. “Residents want a city filled with arts and culture, and this purchase aligns so well with many of our guiding policy documents, including the Music Strategy and new Strategic Plan. This purchase will generate both tourism and direct revenue for the city.”

One of the first priorities for the City will be to find a new tenant for the soon to be closed Hermann’s Upstairs.

Hermann's Upstairs- Victoria Music Strategy Launch
The City of Victoria is looking for a new tenant in the Hermann’s Upstairs space