Independent Staff Report
WEST HOLLYWOOD — The City Council here is expected to hear an appeal Monday night on whether the former Tower Records store on
should be historically preserved.
The city’s Historic Preservation Commission in April voted not to recommend preserving the building at Sunset and Horn Avenue as a historical landmark, but did indicate some landmark designation would be appropriate for the store that thousand of music fans from throughout the Southland flocked to in the 1970s and ’80s.
In turning down the historic preservation request in April, the commission ruled that the property did not retain any connection to Tower Records. The commission did say there was social and cultural significance to the site when the store was a center of the music culture of its time.
The commission suggested that the city should consider another method of recognizing the significance of the site by installing signage designating the intersection of Sunset and Horn as Tower Records Square or another appropriate form of recognition.
Local resident Jerome Cleary, a former member of the Los Angeles Conservancy, has appealed the commission’s decision to the full City Council, which will conduct a public hearing on the matter at Monday’s meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers.
According to Cleary, those wishing to speak on the matter before the council will have two minutes to make their feelings known.
A petition calling for the store to be preserved as been launched on change.org, with more than 1,600 people signing the petition as of Tuesday afternoon.
Cleary waxes nostalgic when talking about the store.
“Tower Records was the most popular Tinsel Town hangout, and a scene all its own,” he said. “This flagship store of the Tower Records chain could once claim to be the largest record store in the nation. “Tower Records has always retained its legendary status. You would never know who you might see there. Rock groups and individual performers showed up regularly in person at the store for impromptu concerts or autograph sessions, and special promotional events were common.”
The store originally opened in 1970 and closed in 2006.
Centrum Partners, which owns the building proposed a mixed-use project in 2007 for the entire parcel on the northwest corner of Sunset and Horn that called for a three-story, 51,000-square-foot building with housing, retail space and a gym.
After protests from preservationists, the project was scaled back but the City Council voted against the plan in 2012.
Centrum Partners filed the only opposition to the historic preservation in April.
Cleary said he would like the city to buy the property and convert the building into a music museum with the parking lot still being utilized for an occasional concert or personal appearances by musical artists or bands.
Domenic Priore, a local historian and the author of “Riot on Sunset: Rock and Roll’s Last Stand,” was the first person to call for the preservation of the building. Cleary was the person who appealed the commission’s April decision
According to the City Council agenda for Monday’s meeting, city staff is recommending that the council deny Cleary’s appeal.