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Developer plans to demolish Tower Records store on Sunset Strip

Posted: March 29, 2010 3:58 p.m.
Updated: March 31, 2010 3:15 p.m.
 
WEST HOLLYWOOD - Chicago developer Sol Barket plans to raze the world famous Tower Records store on Sunset Boulevard and build a five-story office and retail space.

The new project predominantly relies on massive electronic billboards that change images continually for its main source of revenue. Demolition is slated for January 2011.

Plans also include a David Barton gym to complement West Hollywood's four major gyms and numerous private training facilities.

The project features traffic entrances and exits onto Sunset Boulevard, where the strip already experiences gridlock during morning and evening rush hours. Emergency vehicle access has been the main issue with residents and businesses.

Presently, the Tower Records store is an adaptive re-use for the clothing store Live on Sunset.

The proposed development has riled preservationists' desire to preserve Tower Records' worldwide cultural, historic and social history that spans over three decades. The store was the epicenter for recording artists' record releases and live performances.

Before Tower Records, the location supported two earlier notable eras. In the 1960s, inventor Earl "Mad Man" Muntz created his 4-track stereo cartridge music system for cars, which led to 8-track tapes, and was "Jack's on the Strip," a diner where stars socialized during the 1940s through the 1950s.

In January 2008, the Los Angeles Times featured a story regarding the preservation efforts led by culture historian Domenic Priore, author of "Riot on the Sunset Strip: Rock 'n' Roll's Last Stand in Hollywood."

Local resident Jerome Cleary hopes there is still time to save Tower Records and transform it into a Sunset Strip Museum honoring music talent.

"Here we have a world famous record store that became an icon and so easily our community will allow it to disappear entirely," Cleary said.

Residents have focused their comments on the issues of gridlock, emergency vehicle assess, economic hardship on surrounding businesses, noise, pollution, loss of natural light for businesses and residents.

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