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Sunset Strip’s Tower Records building vulnerable as Gibson declares bankruptcy

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Gibson wants out of the 15-year lease that was considered temporary protection for the once-threatened structure

A 2004 photo of the Tower Records on Sunset.
John Lopez/Creative Commons

When Gibson Brands—the maker of legendary guitars—signed a 15-year lease at the Tower Records building on the Sunset Strip and promised to preserve the space, preservationists and music fans were relieved.

But with Gibson filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection his week, the future of the iconic building could once again be up in the air. As Wehoville first reported, the company is petitioning the courts to release it from its West Hollywood lease.

In court records, Gibson cites “expensive monthly rent” as the reason for needing need to bail on the lease. The records say Gibson is already in the process of moving out and plans to vacate by the end of the month.

Gibson signed the lease in 2014, announcing plans to spend $1 million to renovate the store for use as a showroom for Gibson Brands’s instruments and electronics, which include notable brands Wurlitzer, Epiphone, Kramer.

It’s been a bumpy road for the unofficial landmark Tower building since Tower Records declared bankruptcy in 2006.

The future of the building was in jeopardy the following year, when Barket began formulating the first of many iterations of a retail project that would fail to get approval from the city of West Hollywood. Attempts to save the building by having it landmarked were not fruitful in the past.

It’s not yet clear if Tower Records boosters will try again.