EMI selling landmark Capitol Records Tower


EMI Music North America has signed an agreement to sell the historic Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood to New York commercial property firm Argent Ventures, but Capitol will remain housed in the building under a long-term lease.

EMI said the sale of the 50-year-old Vine Street landmark was part of its strategy to divest non-core real estate assets. Some properties are subject to lease-back agreements; earlier this year, EMI sold and leased two facilities in Japan.

EMI Music North America chairman/CEO David Munns said: "This is part of the restructuring effort we announced in April, and will help to ensure our organization remains flexible, with a focus on investment in the key areas of A and R, marketing and the development of our digital business. We are happy to carry on the heritage and tradition of making and marketing great music in this building."

Designed by architect Welton Becket as "the office of tomorrow," the futuristic Capitol Tower opened its office doors on April 6, 1956. Styled to resemble a stack of records and capped by a towering "spindle" (topped by a light that blinked the word "Hollywood" in Morse code), the dramatic circular building became an immediate tourist attraction, and went on to be a Hollywood icon featured in dozens of films and TV shows.

The tower also houses Capitol's recording studios, famed in their own right for their built-in echo chambers and brilliant acoustics. Frank Sinatra inaugurated Studio A on Feb. 22, 1956, with sessions for his instrumental album "Tone Poems of Color." Through 1968, the studios were utilized exclusively by Capitol artists; Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, Judy Garland, Gene Vincent, the Beach Boys and Grand Funk Railroad were among the stars who cut hits there.

Argent is also acquiring the adjacent Gogerty building and an Argyle Avenue parking lot.