A POPULAR seafront venue has been sold for £5 million after its owner decided it was “the right time to move on”.

Legends in Marine Parade, Brighton was sold on Monday by Tony Chapman after 28 years at the helm.

The 82-year-old bought the site in 1993 and extended it into its current form in 2005.

The Argus: Legends in Marine Parade, BrightonLegends in Marine Parade, Brighton

The venue, which boasts a hotel, bar, outside terrace, and downstairs nightclub, has been one of the main focal points of the gay scene in the city.

Tony, who had previously owned Club Revenge in Old Steine, said he will miss the business but its time to “slow down.”

He told The Argus: “It’s sad that I’m giving it up, but it’s time. Every business I’ve had, I have started from scratch.

The Argus: Tony Chapman has sold Legends in Brighton for a £5 millionTony Chapman has sold Legends in Brighton for a £5 million

“They started as run-down places, like Club Revenge was when I took it over more than 30 years ago and developed it into a place that became famous right across the UK.

“Legends has now turned into the main gay business in Brighton. We have a nightclub in the basement and a bar with a lovely terrace and now a 40-bedroom hotel.

“It became a beautiful business, but you can’t stay there forever, and you have to move on.”

The Argus: Legends in Marine Parade, BrightonLegends in Marine Parade, Brighton

Tony’s venues, including Club Revenge and Legends, have helped to raise more than £350,000 for charities helping the city's gay community.

They also attracted some of the country’s biggest stars including Boy George, Jarvis Cocker and the Pet Shop Boys.

Tony has not been directly involved in the running of Legends for more than two years, handing over the day-to-day business dealings to a caretaker management company while the building was on the market.

The businessman said there were “no shortage of potential buyers” and accepted an offer Linh and Leo Nguyen, owners of The Charm and Sea Spray hotels in New Steine.

Tony said he is hopefully the venue’s new owners will help to preserve its status as an award-winning gay venue.

He said: “I think they are going to carry on with it as it is and keep the name.

“They’ve never owned a gay hotel but when it came on the market, they were quick off the mark.

“They’d be daft not to because there’s a nearly £3 million turnover – it’s a great business.

“My businesses have been my life so it’s quite sad to break away from it, but because I haven’t been actively involved for a while, it makes it a lot easier to give up.”

“It has a good reputation and it’s a really great place to go.”

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