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Famed Times Square Brill Building Is Up For Sale…Again

Renowned Brill Building, home of legendary songs and songwriters, is being sold as a foreclosure.

By Jeff Vasishta January 31, 2017
Photo courtesy of Brian Zak / NY Post

Another renowned NYC musical institution, The Brill Building is about to be sold—to the tune of over $200 million, the NY Post reports. The exact number that the famous eleven-story property at 619 Broadway (off Times Square between 49th & 50th Streets), is being sold for is a a little fuzzy because of the amount of liens against it. It was previously on the market in the summer $295 million.

The building used to house numerous music publishers with recording studios and writing rooms. Songwriters who worked there in the 1960’s included Carol King & Gerry Goffin and Burt Bacharach, and Hal David. It is being sold by an entity called Brill Holdco LLC, which is foreclosing on loans at 1619 Broadway and will sell them during a UCC foreclosure on March 14.

RelatedTimes Square Faces An Identity Crisis As Rents Fall And Retailers Bail

The location in the heart of Times Square could not be more desirable. The building itself is landmarked and has gone through many renovations. Owners Bruce Brickman’s Brickman Associates and Allied Partners along with Merchants Hospitality paid $185.5 million in 2013. A New York Times article that year with one of the new owners showed them keen to capitalize on the building’s famous musical legacy, which evidently did not happen.

The building housed another New York musical landmark, Colony Music, a record store and sheet music emporium which famously occupied the ground floor for 64 years before it close in 2012. One by one the institutions on which New York’s music legacy were founded have left Times Square in favor of corporate titans and “experience” type business that can afford the high rents. The same year as Colony Music left, across Broadway on on W. 48th St noted musical equipment store Sam Ash also shuttered for cheaper rents on 34th Street, stripping West 48th between 6th and 7th Avenue of its musical identity.

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Paul Ash, a son of company founders Sam and Rose Ash told the NY Post at the time, “48th Street is a very important street in the history of music. Once there were 30 different businesses — music stores, practice studios, repairmen. One by one they’ve disappeared.”

In addition, many of the famous recording studios within a five minute walk of Times Square have also gone. One of the best known was The Hit Factory, at 421 West 54th Street (between 8th & 9th Aves), where everyone from Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Eric Clapton and Madonna have recorded. It closed in 2005 and opened two years later as plush condos in a joint venture of Arizona-based Sagamore Capital and Stamford, Conn.-based Core Plus Properties, maintaining its famous moniker.

Two years after The Hit Factory Studio went, Sony Music recording studios, just up the block at 447-453 West 53rd Street, 450 West 54th Street and 452-460 West 54th Street was sold for $44 million to a partnership of Jamestown Properties and Alchemy Properties, only to reopen as condos as well.

Surprisingly, around the corner from the old Sam Ash on 48th St, another famous Times Square studio, Quad (at 723 7th Ave #10, New York, NY 10019)  is still open for business.

Long may it continue.

Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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