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28-story development may replace Amoeba Records

HOLLYWOOD — The Los Angeles Department of Planning has released an initial study on a proposed development that would displace Amoeba Records.

The project, listed simply on the report as the 6400 Sunset Boulevard Project, calls for a 28-story mixed use building which would include 232 housing units, 7,000 square feet of commercial space, two underground parking levels and 32,117 square feet of open space, according to the initial study prepared for the Planning Department by Eyestone Environmental on behalf of the applicant 6400 Sunset.

It is the first formal proposal for the property that has been released since news was reported in September 2016 that the Amoeba Record store property had been purchased.

The project, which must be approved by the Planning Commission and then the City Council, calls for construction to begin in 2019 with completion sometime in 2021.

When news of the sale of Amoeba Records’ property surfaced last year, the record store owners said they had a lease on the store the extended several years and that the store would remain at its current location at least until the end of that lease.

In an email to website last week, the storeowners again stated their intention of remaining at the current site until the end of the lease.

“Rest assured, we are not closing, but we are now in a position where we may have to change locations in the coming years,” Amoeba co-owner Jim Henderson said in the email. “By no means does this mean that Amoeba is leaving L.A.

“We are in discussions to remain at 6400 Sunset beyond our current lease, but we are also exploring our various options and have already been offered several spaces that could suit us well. We will choose what is best at the appropriate time. Amoeba loves L.A., we are committed to L.A., and we have every intention of remaining in L.A.”

The email concluded: “Amoeba is defined by who we are, not where we are.”

Amoeba Music started in Berkeley in 1990, when former employees of Rasputin Records opened a shop on Telegraph Road. A second store opened in San Francisco in 1997 and the Hollywood store opened on Sunset Boulevard and Cahuenga Boulevard in 2001 next to the Cinerama Dome.

Los Angeles Times reporter Michael Hiltzik said the new store became “an instant Hollywood landmark,” with its bins of new and used records and CDs as well as movies.

The store featured in-store live performances and an ever-changing stock of merchandise.

On its website, Amoeba calls itself, “more than just a record store — we’re a 21st century music outlet, a website, a popular live performance venue, and together with our customers we’re a meeting place for California’s most colorful community of progressive and creative minds.”

Eleven months ago, City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said he hoped to keep Amoeba in his 13th Council District as both an entertainment hub and a cultural destination site.

The Coalition to Preserve L.A., which has been highly critical of high-density development projects in Hollywood and other areas of the city, also was critical of the 6400 Sunset project proposal, pointing most of the blame at Mayor Eric Garcetti.

“Since he was a city councilman in Hollywood, Mayor Garcetti has been pursuing a baffling effort to make uniquely historic Hollywood look as much like downtown Charlotte, N.C., as possible — glass towers with no soul,” said Jill Stewart, the spokesperson for the coalition. “Mayor Garcetti should be doing everything he can to save iconic Amoeba Records instead of welcoming every new swing of the wrecking ball for yet another luxury development people can’t afford.

“Sky-high rents are pushing out landmarks like Amoeba, and that can be placed directly in the mayor’s lap.”

The 6400 Sunset project isn’t the only new development under study for the area.

Across the street from Amoeba, plans calls for the Jack in the Box to be torn down and replaced with a 21-story hotel that would include a rooftop pool and gym and four levels of underground parking.


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