An anonymous tipster using a masked number sent along a link that will break the hearts of record collectors and music lovers across Southern California: The space presently occupied by Amoeba Hollywood is officially up for lease.
The listing went live on Tuesday. It describes the property as being equipped with “[r]are, block-to-block frontage on Sunset [Blvd.] totaling 589 feet, combined with highly visible rooftop signage.”
The news follows up last year’s revelations that the building had been sold to a developer.
According to inside sources who requested anonymity, it was the third time the owners of Amoeba Hollywood had sold the property. Previously, they had sold it as part of a buyback deal that gave them the option to buy back the property after 5 years. According to various sources, the owners bought back the building in 2014 and had announced that to staff. Nevertheless, declining sales and rising costs—with the hikes in minimum wage specifically cited as a key factor—had forced the owners to sell the property permanently for $35 million in 2015. Although the owners and management had assured staff that the sale was along the line of the previous buyback arrangements, the rumor was that buyback would be impossible and that this sale was final.
According to anonymous sources, management has already been requesting that staff consider taking voluntary cuts in their schedule. “They asked me, but I can’t,” said one longtime Amoeba employee who refused to give his name. “I got bills and rent. But I know that the store is hurting.”
Over the past two years the store has gradually ceded space for LPs and CDs in favor of t-shirts, mugs, toys, and other tchotchkes—a phenomenon one longtime employee referred to as “the Tower Records effect,” in reference to the one-time international record store chain that went out of business in 2006. Recently, they opened up a large space for souvenirs and clothes at the entrance of the store. The move caused grumbling amomg staff, said one source who felt that the shift in emphasis from music to souvenirs would work as a self-fulfilling prophecy of the store’s closure.
Presently, the store currently employs approximately 150 people. Of those, an estimated 20 of them have worked for the store since it first opened its doors in 2002.
Inquiries to Amoeba Hollywood have yet to be returned.