It appears that Ben Folds will not have to vacate RCA Studio A, on Nashville’s famed Music Row after all. Bravo Development’s Tim Reynolds had initially announced plans to level the original structure and replace it with a five story building housing eighty luxury condos. Current tenants were to be evicted come December 1st. Now, however, Reynolds has announced that he has sold the property at 30 Music Square West. When news of the property developer’s initial plans of possible demolition reached the ears of Music Row fans, an effort to preserve the studio, a symbol of the broader identity crisis Music Row is confronting, was ignited. Music Row, two streets that run parallel for about a mile in Nashville’s Midtown, is home to the origins of country music recording, which boomed nearly sixty years ago. Now, as digital formatting continues to dominate music sales, music business are relocating to different parts of town, leaving spaces for developers like Reynolds to revamp into apartments, condos, and retail spaces.
Rock pianist and recording artist Ben Folds, a tenant of the RCA building and Studio A for twelve years, began campaigning strongly to save the studio’s building. At that time, Folds wrote “We have and will continue to send investors and planners his way who have ideas on how to both preserve the space, keep the studio working and make everyone the money they want,” on his Facebook page. “I will continue to raise public awareness of the grand history of Music Row that is threatened by hasty development.” His efforts, in conjunction with fellow supporters like Elton John and Amanda Palmer among others involved with the local grassroots group “Save Studio A” seem to have finally paid off.
“In light of public concern, we ultimately decided to select the buyer that plans to preserve the building and hopefully open it to the public,” Reynolds said in his statement. The new buyer, AMT Trust, ended up paying $5.6 million (roughly $1.5 million more than Reynolds paid for the building two months prior). However, Reynolds did pay for building inspections, architectural renderings, attorney fees, public relations representatives among other expenses, after acquiring the RCA building. Save Studio A members were surprised to hear the news of the building’s re-sale. A spokeswoman for the group said they do not know who is behind the AMT Trust and that they haven’t been in contact with either Reynolds of AMT Trust. Save Studio A’s leader by default, producer and songwriter Trey Bruce, says the news is exciting, but is remaining cautious until details are finalized. “I’m really glad that this has turned up and we’re watching it as it moves forward,” Bruce said to Nashville Business Journal. “We’re hopeful this is the right thing, and we think it is … I’m hopeful [but] figuring out what the details are with this deal with AMT and Bravo [Development, Reynolds’ company].”