Sony to shutter historic studios
By Marlene Naanes, amNewYork Staff Writer
June 14, 2007, 7:30 AM EDT
Citing difficult times in the recording industry, Sony BMG is closing its historic Hell's Kitchen studios, where artists such as J. Lo have recorded and movies such as "Shaft" were filmed.
The five-story red-brick building on West 54th Street and 10th Avenue will no longer house Sony Music Studios, according to an internal memo obtained by amNewYork. The June 8 memo said that employees will be terminated when the studios close in mid-to late-August.
Some employees possibly will be allowed to transfer to different parts of the company. It is unclear how many employees will be affected and what the future holds for the studio building that once housed Fox Movietone studios, where one of the first technologies to combine sound and film in the 1920s was used.
The music-industry giant is being hush-hush on the deal, only saying that Sony BMG, the studios' parent company, signed a purchase and sale agreement with a New York developer called HSAC Corp. Efforts to contact the developer were unsuccessful. It was unclear what will happen to the building.
Movies such as "Miracle on 34th Street" and television shows like the original "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" were filmed there. The studios also hosted the New York filming of "America: A Tribute to Heroes," a bi-coastal telethon that raised money for the families of Sept. 11 victims just days after the attacks.
Before Sony bought the warehouse-sized building in 1993, Camera Mart, an equipment rental company, called it home. After renovating the building, Sony Music Studios soon became a popular and high-tech recording spot.
In a 2001 article in the on-line recording industry publication Mix, Andy Kadison, the studios' senior vice president said" "We're like the millennium's version of an old-time Hollywood studio. We can do virtually every aspect of an entertainment project under one roof, ranging from audio recording, mixing, mastering, archive restoration and plant production, to television production and satellite broadcasts, to audio and video post-production."
When reached Wednesday on his cell phone, Kadison declined to comment on the sale or the future of the building.
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