An on-again, off-again concert venue in Bonita Springs is on again but also for sale.
The 20,000-square-foot Southwest Florida Event Center, which holds about 500 fans, is on the market for just under $6 million, co-owner Jennifer Shanahan said. David Wallace of CRE Consultants is the listed broker.
“We are definitely torn about what is the right thing to do,” Shanahan said. “We are so appreciative that the community values the venue. And they want to see it back open. However, there’s family that comes first in our lives. We need to prioritize.”
Southwest Florida Event Center hasn’t had a concert since Todd Rundgren and an assortment of other singers took the stage in April 2022. But on May 13, multiplatinum-recording artist Melissa Etheridge is slated to make her fourth appearance at the Bonita Springs venue, with fewer than 500 tickets for sale. Tickets range from $120 to $160 and are available only on Ticketmaster.
Jennifer and Richard Shanahan bought the venue five years ago. It previously sold for $1.75 million in July 2013, property records show. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the Shanahans to shut down concerts in 2020 with sporadic shows eventually resuming.
The Shanahans have three children 10 and under. Raising them and Richard Shanahan’s primary career also caused the couple to step back from devoting themselves to the concert venue. Richard Shanahan owns and operates the Naples-based GEM Remotes, which makes remote controls for boat lifts.
Their daughter Sutton, 10, also started a nonprofit organization called Kidz 4 a Cause, which aims to provide boots-on-the-ground assistance for charities helping area children.
The Shanahans never intended to operate Southwest Florida Event Center themselves, but their original tenant left the lease about a year after they bought the building. They took it upon themselves to run it until so many obstacles had them put it on pause – and up for sale.
“That was so heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time,” said Jennifer Shanahan, who had many fans reaching out to her when they put the venue on the market.
After it sells, the venue could be converted back to retail, said Matt Simmons, a property appraiser with Maxwell, Hendry & Simmons. It originally was a drug store before the Shanahans built it out and expanded it.
“There was a lot of effort put into repurposing that structure to serve as a comedy club/event space,” Simmons said. “What it represents now is a special-use property. In its current physical configuration, it doesn’t fit easily into any of the traditional asset class categories [retail, office, industrial].
“The ideal buyer would be someone who wants to use that property consistent with how it’s been built out. That can be a difficult buyer to find though.”
Jennifer Shanahan said she would love to see the building continue to hold concerts, calling landing coveted musical acts “chasing unicorns.”
“If you believe in it, you’re going to make it better,” Shanahan said. “You’re going to make it community driven.”