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WeHo Still Not Sure Tower Records Store Site Qualifies as Local Cultural Resource

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The vacated Tower Records before the red and yellow was totally gone (Photo by o2ma via Flickr)
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Tower Records on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood closed its doors for good in 2006, and while there had been talk it would meet the wrecking ball, the issue of its preservation is still under consideration.

A public hearing on the application submitted to designate the retail location a "local cultural resource" was held this week, but the building's fate remains undecided, reports West Hollywood Patch.

The hesitation to offer the spot an official designation is because the honor would be less about the physical building and more about what used to take place there, namely the selling of music and well-attended appearances by rock stars and other pop culture icons.

The application was submitted by Domenic Priore, author of the book Riot on Sunset Strip, which looks at a pivotal epoch in rock music in L.A. He first filed an application to preserve the building in 2007.

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"It's always tricky dealing with retail locations because we're really talking about designating not so much the building, but the tenancy of the building," remarked Historic Preservation Commission member Edward S. Levin, who also says that little of what Tower Records once was remains evident at the current site.

One big problem is the store's iconic red and yellow signs were taken down several years ago after it closed for business.

Priore argues that the flagship Tower Records store was key for influencing how music was sold and marketed when it opened in 1971, and also notes that prior to Tower being there, the location was "home to a Muntz Stero, where businessman and engineer Earl 'Madman' Muntz perfected his 'Stereo 4 Pak' player for automobiles," notes Patch.

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Playboy Publisher Hugh Hefner, poses with Kendra Wilkinson, Bridget Marquardt and Holly Madison at the 'Hugh Hefner And the Girls Next Door' DVD signing at Tower Records on August 3, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
A former Tower employee spoke at the hearing, wearing his staff t-shirt and telling tales of the many famous acts who graced the premises.

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However, the current property owner says the city failed to prove the building worthy of preservation back in 2007, and contests the belaboring of the matter.

But the stall continues, and the issue will be taken up again at a future meeting. A final decision on the designation will be made by the West Hollywood City Council.