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RCA Studio A Sale Finalized, Two More Buyers Added

RCA Studio A
Michael Ochs Archives

Days before Aubrey Preston was to close on the sale of RCA Studio A on Music Row in Nashville, Tenn., two more buyers have been added to the purchase.

Music industry veteran Mike Curb and philanthropist Chuck Elcan have teamed up with Preston to purchase the building. Preston originally agreed to buy the historic building from Tim Reynolds, who planned to demolish the building in favor of condominiums, for $5.6 million.

Curb previously purchased and restored RCA Studio B, which he leases to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, in addition to both Columbia Studio A and Owen Bradley’s the Quonset Hut.

Elcan, who purchased the Loveless Cafe in 2003 to preserve the beloved landmark, is the President of Chinaco Healthcare Corp. He is also married to Trisha Frist, daughter of well-known philanthropist Dr. Thomas Frist, Jr. The three men are now operating as Studio A Preservation Partners, LLC.

Preston bought the building after a passionate plea from many musicians and Nashville residents, including Ben Folds and Jamey Johnson.

“Everyone wants Ben Folds to stay in Nashville,” Curb said in July (quote via the Nashville Scene). “We have to strike a balance here because we have to be fair to the Atkins and Bradley families, however, none of us want to lose Studio A and Ben Folds, because we want more pop and other music in Nashville, and Ben Folds symbolizes that.”

While Preston was thrilled to be able to rescue the building, he has said from the beginning that he hoped to have other people work with him to keep the building.

Listen, I’m a preservationist,” Preston says. “I don’t want us to talk with like-minded people and go into our corner and cast doubt on developers. I view developers as part of the solution to these questions of Music Row and culturally significant music buildings.”

The rescue of the building, and future plans for maintaining the studio, means people like Folds, who had already been given an eviction notice by Reynolds, get to keep recording in RCA Studio A.

“I think it’s looking really, really good,” Folds says. “I do think that [Studio A] was a tipping point and I’m proud of everyone for all of the work, and noise, and the money; now there’s an incredible investment over there.”

While a detailed plan for the building has not yet been revealed, Preston does plan on hosting a party on March 29 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the studio.

“We’ve got a window between the time we close and the actual 50th anniversary,” he says, “where we can plan [to] basically push the reset button to recast the vision for the next 50 years.”

NEXT: Why Are There So Few Women at Country Radio?

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