New York City recording studio Avatar, known throughout the music industry as The Power Station, has been sold to Berklee College of Music, sources tell Variety. The price tag for the 33,000-square-foot midtown Manhattan complex — located at 441 West 53rd Street — is believed to be between $23 million and $28 million. The deal is expected to be finalized on Friday, Sept. 1.
A closing party was held on Monday, Aug. 28.
Among the seminal albums recorded there were Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.,” Peter Gabriel’s “So,” Meatloaf’s “Bat Out of Hell,” and releases by Duran Duran, Elton John, David Bowie, Billy Joel, Madonna, Lady Gaga, the Clash, George Michael, and Blondie. It is a common legend that a young Jon Bon Jovi once swept the floors there, as it is well-known that the name of the studio inspired ’80s supergroup The Power Station, featuring members Robert Palmer, Chic drummer Tony Thompson, and Duran Duran bassist John Taylor and guitarist Andy Taylor. It was also where Jimmy Iovine honed his production skills, along with Bob Clearmountain and Scott Litt.
Power Station was opened in 1977 by producer Tony Bongiovi and grew an impressive client list soon after. Multitrack recording was a key draw for artists at the time, as well as the spacious, artist-friendly rooms that made up the complex. In 1996, it was renamed Avatar.
In Sept. 2015, as word spread that the studio was up for sale, the New York Times chronicled its storied past.
It is unclear as of yet what the Boston-based Berklee plans to do with the space, but word is that, after significant upgrades, it will remain dedicated to music in some form. The hope is that it will be available to artists wishing to rent the rooms, in addition to Berklee students. It may also serve the Broadway community as a place to record cast albums, says a source.
Avatar is owned by Chieko and Kirk Imamura. A representative for the studio would not comment when contacted by Variety. A rep for Berklee College of Music could not be reached.
With reporting by Michele Amabile Angermiller.