Great Scott’s landlord lines up a new tenant for the club’s space

Great Scott had operated at 1222 Commonwealth Ave. in Allston for 44 years.
Great Scott had operated at 1222 Commonwealth Ave. in Allston for 44 years.Keith Bedford/Globe File

Allston music venue Great Scott will not reopen at its original location after its landlord reached an agreement with another prospective tenant. The announcement comes days after longtime club booking agent Carl Lavin raised almost $200,000 through a crowdfunded investment campaign to revive the spot.

In a letter sent to Lavin Thursday, an attorney for Oak Hill Properties said the landlord is “moving forward” with another undisclosed applicant at 1222 Commonwealth Ave. “with the expectation . . . that a long-term lease will be executed shortly.” It also said Oak Hill will cease further communication with Lavin.

Great Scott first announced its closure on May 1 when owner Frank Strenk chose not to sign a long-term lease after 44 years in business. The club had gone dark in March because of the coronavirus outbreak.


After a wave of outrage and grief from the music community, Lavin made a deal with Strenk to obtain the site’s name, liquor license, and intellectual property, and a push to save the Allston club began in earnest.

Lavin turned to Mainvest, a Salem-based investing company that allows people to put money into small businesses, with the hopes of raising at least $150,000 — a goal he surpassed in early June. Shortly after, he submitted an application with newfound confidence that he could pay make rent payments, cover operating costs, and install the soundproofing that Oak Hill originally asked of Strenk.

But according to a statement from Mainvest CEO Nick Mathews, the application went unacknowledged by Oak Hill for weeks until Thursday’s letter. Mainvest said it also “requested an audience” with Oak Hill through its lawyer but was denied. Lavin could not be reached for comment on Thursday, but he told the Globe in early June that Oak Hill and its lawyer, John A. Mangones, were not receptive to his interest in maintaining the venue.


In this week’s letter, Mangones said the money Lavin raised would not cover the cost of the liquor license. Strenk “stated he would not sell the liquor license for less than $400,000,” Mangones wrote. “This alone is more than twice the amount Great Scott has raised through its Mainvest campaign, to say nothing of all other business expenses required to operate.”

Strenk could not be reached for comment.

If Great Scott can’t find a “viable path forward,” per Mainvest’s statement, investors’ contributions will be returned to them. Investors are promised a 140 percent return on their contribution by Jan. 1, 2027, if Lavin accepts the funds.

“We want to remind investors and supporters that while the campaign is ongoing, all funds are held in an Escrow account with an FDIC-member bank,” Mainvest wrote in a statement. “To the extent that the Great Scott campaign is unable to find a viable path forward, all invested capital will be returned to investors, fee-free.”

Diti Kohli can be reached at diti.kohli@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ditikohli_.