Capitol Condos?

One of Hollywood’s and the music industry’s most recognizable landmarks, the aging Capitol Records building, could be sold to a developer and converted to condos, but city preservationists and others hope to convince owner EMI to retain it.

The building, built in 1956 near the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street and resembling a stack of records, is where many of the label’s historic acts worked and recorded, including The Beatles and Frank Sinatra.

While a representative for EMI said the company was not “actively shopping” the building, it has received several serious proposals from potential buyers.

“We have a responsibility to look at anything serious,” EMI spokeswoman Jeanne Murphy said.

Preservationists said they like the idea that music continues to be made inside the 13-story office tower and that it should not just be a symbol of the past.

“If they leave, it’ll take something away from Hollywood,” said Erin Bennett, a hostess at Hollywood and Vine, a restaurant named after the famed intersection close to the building. “It’ll be an old building that used to be something.”

Besides its architectural significance, the tower is a symbol of enterprise and talent, said Diana Rubio, a spokeswoman for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The building is within the L.A. city limits.

“There isn’t any other building like it,” Rubio said. “It’s a lot like the Hollywood sign, and there’s only one Capitol Records building.”

Likewise, the city has seen many companies migrate from Los Angeles in the last 20 years, leaving behind their architectural shells. Many in the community want to keep a commercial landmark in L.A. just that – commercial.

The L.A. City Council spent $4 million to help Capitol refurbish a nearby office building when the company said in 2000 that it was prepared to leave Hollywood, according to the Los Angeles Times.