Morgan Stanley sells West Side recording studio for $20.5M

Recording professionals had hoped to return building to its previous use

TRD New York /
Sep.September 06, 2011 06:33 PM

A Vacant Recording Studio On 38th Street has been sold for $20.5
million, despite attempts by a group of music professionals to buy it.

According to public records filed with the city today, Prime Property
Fund, an entity related to Morgan Stanley Real Estate Advisors, sold
the four-story, 42,800-square-foot property at 509 West 38th Street to
ELB Holdings LLC, an entity controlled
by principal Eric Birnbaum.

The building, located between 10th and 11th Avenues near the Hudson
Yards, previously housed Legacy Recording Studios. The only
film-scoring studio on the East Coast, Legacy hosted the making of
various motion picture soundtracks and Broadway scores. Legacy was ousted from the space in 2008, when the building was sold for $17.57 million to the
development firm Twining Properties,
which planned to build a condominium on the site, according to Chris
Bubacz, the former general manager of Legacy. Legacy was later dissolved in 2009. The condo plans fell flat,
Bubacz said, and Morgan Stanley, the underwriter of Twining’s
mortgage, took control of the building.

The property has been vacant since 2008, but still has the unique infrastructure required for a recording studio,
Bubacz said. A group of interested buyers, including Bubacz and
various music professionals, had attempted to raise the funds required
to purchase the property, and restore it to its previous use.
The sale of the building to ELB has saddened the group, which calls
itself Tempo. Bubacz said they fear that the building will be torn
down to make way for new condos.

“It’s disappointing that, in this current economic climate, we
couldn’t find anyone to put up the money,” he said. “It was just too
expensive.”

Tempo is looking for alternative properties in which to record,
including some in Harlem. Although some of these properties are less
expensive, Bubacz said, they lack studio infrastructure, and would need expensive remodeling and refurbishing work.
Representatives for ELB and Morgan Stanley were not immediately
available for comment.


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