RCA Studio A Building Set for Demolition
The building that houses the historic RCA Studio A is now slated for demolition.
The news will come as a devastating blow to many in the Nashville music community who were hoping to find a way to preserve the iconic studio, which has been the site of many key recordings.
Studio A was founded in 1964 by Chet Atkins and Owen Bradley, two top Nashville guitarists who were among the chief architects of the Nashville Sound. The space has been home to recordings from artists including Lyle Lovett, Ronnie Milsap, Willie Nelson, the Oak Ridge Boys, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Josh Turner, Carrie Underwood, Lee Ann Womack, Hank Williams, Jr., Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves and the Beach Boys, among many others.
Musician and producer Ben Folds had rented the studio space for the last 12 years and tried to save the building by making a public appeal for preservation. Keith Urban was among the other prominent musicians who weighed in, urging preservation of Nashville’s Music Row, which serves as the central hub for recording, publishing and record label activity in Music City.
But Reynolds claimed the building was beyond repair after engineers assessed the structure, finding that it would be cost prohibitive to repair due to multiple issues with mold, electrical systems and HVAC. He had recently said that he still wanted to find a way to retain some of the historic aspects of Studio A as part of any development he would pursue, but last week he served all of the building's residents with an eviction notice, telling them they needed to vacate by Dec. 1.
Reynolds tells WZTV that he would like to sell the building to anyone interested in preserving it but will proceed with his demolition plans if nobody makes an offer by Sept. 30.
Nashville-based songwriter and producer Trey Bruce is one of the founding members of the Save Studio A campaign, a group that sprang up in response to the sale of Studio A. They have undertaken their own independent assessment of the building, which they plan to release next week.
“In this century there was new roof, new air conditioning … all these great selling points five minutes before it was sold that turned into toxic and mold five minutes after it was sold,” Bruce tells the Nashville Business Journal. “Somewhere along the way it didn’t make sense to me.”
Bruce thinks the reports of the building's poor condition have possibly scared away some of the cultural and philanthropic institutions that might otherwise have an interest in renovating and preserving the space.
“We’d love to be able to help facilitate an educated, investigative conversation between some philanthropic groups and the seller to see if there’s a way to move forward with something that makes sense,” he says. “We want to try to educate everybody in a friendly ‘we are the world’ way that there are ways to go forward. [The owner] can get his payday, and Nashville can keep one of its assets.”