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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Tower Records building back on the market amid Gibson bankruptcy

Will the sun set on this iconic store on WeHo’s Sunset Boulevard?
May 25, 2018 05:00PM

Tower Records and Adherence Capital Management founder Steven Johnson (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Another bankruptcy puts the future of the Tower Records store in West Hollywood in doubt once again.

The instrument maker Gibson has asked to be released from a 15-year lease at the iconic store at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Horn Avenue, four years after signing the lease, which local preservationists lauded as a way to save the storefront from the wrecking ball, according to WeHoVille.

Newmark Knight Frank vice chairman Jay Luchs told The Real Deal that he started marketing the 8,700-square-foot property on Thursday. He said it’s listed as a lease and not as a redevelopment property but couldn’t speak to the owners’ plans. Luchs said he’s looking for a tenant to finish out Gibson’s 12-year lease but said there was the possibility of a new lease if the tenant was “strong enough.”

Camarillo-based Adherence Capital Management bought 8801 Sunset Boulevard in 2016 for $35 million from a New York firm through Tower Records Square LLC, an entity tied to Century City law firm Mayman & Mayman LLP. Adherence was founded by Steve Johnson, former Chief Investment Officer for Apple Inc.’s investment subsidiary Braeburn Capital.

Luch’s pre-Gibson marketing material said the site was zoned for a 52,000-square-foot redevelopment and listed its rent at $144 per square foot.

Tower Records founder Russell Solomon built the store nearly 40 years ago and opened it in 1971. It was one of Los Angeles’ rock and roll hubs until it closed in 2006 after Tower Records filed for bankruptcy. Local preservationists lost a battle to landmark the store in 2013.

Gibson, a Nashville-based company best known for manufacturing guitars, said in 2014 that it had leased the former stores to operate an “entertainment relations” office. It cited “expensive monthly rent” as a reason to relocate operations to its other office spaces nearby, according to WeHoVille. The 124-year-old company filed for bankruptcy on May 1, saying it wanted to refocus the company on its guitar business. [WeHoVille] – Dennis Lynch