Iconic Tower Records Building Will Not Be Preserved As Landmark
WEST HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — Despite music fans and West Hollywood residents rallying to save the iconic Tower Records building, the former fixture on Sunset Boulevard will not be preserved as a historic landmark.
KNX 1070’s Megan Goldsby reports it was the second chance for music fans to keep alive the memory of what was once one of the nation’s biggest retail music outlets.
“I just think it’s really important, I think you can’t knock down everything and bulldoze everything, especially on the strip,” said resident Jerome Cleary.
After an appeal from Cleary and an online petition with more than 1,800 signatures called on West Hollywood urban planner Stephanie Reich to consider the appeal, the city council voted unanimously to let the historic preservation commission’s decision stand, not allowing the building to be deemed a cultural resource.
Mayor Abbe Land said that even though many people had fond memories of Tower Records, “it didn’t meet the criteria” for preservation.
Last spring, the city of West Hollywood’s Historic Preservation Commission held two meetings on the significance of the store at 625 North San Vicente Boulevard between Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard, but ultimately commissioners were split over enacting full preservation of the location and structure.
Opened in November 1970, the flagship store of the Tower Records chain could once claim to be “the largest record store in the nation” and was the site of impromptu performances by artists who showed up regularly in person for promotional events.
“One of the great things about it was you could go there you know, just to shop, and you might run into Brian Wilson shopping, or Ringo,” said Chris Carter, who hosts “Breakfast with the Beatles” on KLOS.
According to Carter, artists like his band Dramarama saw their album on the Tower wall.
“We knew we made it when we got our album vinyl on the side of Tower Sunset,” he said.
Domenic Priore, historian and author of “Riot on Sunset: Rock and Roll’s Last Stand,” was the original applicant for preservation of the mid-century building, which has had its landmark yellow paint stripped and was recently a clothing store but is now boarded up.
But while preservationists like Priore have cited its rock-and-roll pedigree, opponents argue the building itself is nondescript without the signature coat of yellow paint and would best be honored with a plaque, or a music-themed square.
Mayor Land said the city will consider ways to commemorate the store.