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Old 06-19-2008   #1
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Default Capitol Records Studio In Jeopardy Thanks To Approved Condo Project in Hollywood

There is growing outrage in Los Angeles over the approved condo project slated to be constructed directly next to the historic Capitol Records building in the heart of Hollywood, California. LATimes.com reports that the 16-story structure across the street from the landmark building would come within 18 feet of the famed subterranean recording studios, known for their incredible and completely unique reverb. Experts believe that the parking structure for the condo building will ruin this element of the studios forever.

The city of Los Angeles has already approved the condo building, but Capitol Record’s parent company, EMI, is fighting back with a star-studded team of musicians, union leaders, politicians and beyond, with the hope that a last-minute effort can save what is a national treasure in a world that only seems to care about tax revenue or ultra-low-resolution music sold through iTunes. Condo projects can be built on other plots. Capitol Record’s studio can not be replicated.

The area near the Capitol Records building a decade ago was practically a skid-row neighborhood, yet today is in the middle of a major comeback. The Church of Scientology owns many buildings nearby, which enables them to try to recruit people who come to Hollywood looking to become a star to their sci-fi religion. Amazingly, a subway now winds its way below the streets of Hollywood en route to downtown Los Angeles or the San Fernando Valley, thus adding to the neighborhood’s “green” appeal with a new demographic of resident. The striking Kodak Theater, home of the Academy Awards, is the gem of the gigantic Hollywood and Highland complex, which helps to breathe new life into the once-grand streets of Hollywood. All of this just scratches the surface of what is going on in Hollywood, but to ignore the pressure on the city and state to create new tax revenue would be to miss the issue at hand. Prop 13 has mandated that the taxes for a property remain the same as long as someone owns a home in California. Unlike other areas of the country, taxes are never reassessed in the state, so people stay in their homes for decades and the city and/or state never collect more money from these homeowners, even though the costs of running a government go up each year. With that said, 16 stories of new condos – even in a down real estate market – will make the city some serious money for years to come. The question is: is it worth wrecking one of the most meaningful recording studios in the world in order to cook up some new tax revenue?

The LATimes.com article cites the loss of audio landmarks from the Los Angeles landscape, such as Todd A-O’s scoring stage, Cello (formerly Oceanway) Studios and the Paramount scoring stage. A&M Studios were also the home for some big hit records, Today the Henson Studios (owned by the late Jim Henson’s company) resides there now. Clearly, the “big” recording studio is becoming less and less a part of the Los Angeles landscape.

Readers looking to have their opinion heard by the City of Los Angeles can write to:

Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa
200 North Spring Street
Number 303
Los Angeles, California 90012

by: Jerry Del Colliano
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