King Records' former headquarters could be in city hands soon

Cincinnati Planning Commission will hold a hearing on March 16 that could allow a land swap between the city and Dynamic Industries, clearing the way for a new King complex to honor the label's heritage

click to enlarge King Records' former complex in Evanston - Photo: Nick Swartsell
Photo: Nick Swartsell
King Records' former complex in Evanston

A historic landmark responsible for much of Cincinnati's music heritage may soon be another step down the road toward preservation.

Chris Wetterich of Cincinnati Business Courier is reporting that the company that owns the Evanston site once occupied by legendary Cincinnati record company King Records appears to be close to a deal that would allow the city to take over ownership.

According to the Business Courier, a “land swap” will be considered by the Cincinnati Planning Commission on March 16 that would give Dynamic Industries, the owners of King’s former property, nearby land in exchange for the site near 1-71.

The company originally planned to tear down the building, but the city declared the old King site a historic landmark in 2015 and various group's jumped into action with plans for the site that would help the community and celebrate the legacy. Last year, local non-profits the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation, King Studios and the Bootsy Collins Foundation submitted a proposal to put in a new complex that would include a performance hall, museum component and recording studio at the location.

After the news broke today, a “unity statement” on the developments was issued by the non-profits, and co-signed by the Evanston Community Council.

On behalf of the leadership of the Evanston Community Council, Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation, King Studios and Bootsy Collins Foundation, four core non-profits reviving the King Records legacy together, we are very thankful to the City of Cincinnati and owner of the former King Records studio building for coming to terms to save the building and find a win-win path for all. 

Our four non-profits, in various forms since the Rock Hall and City established a historic marker at the site in 2008, have been honored to welcome a growing number of educators, organizations, and champions across the globe for the cause for King on Brewster Avenue in the educating neighborhood of Evanston.  We will continue to work together and further develop our partnership with the city to leverage new resources, to not only restore the amazing musical legacy, but also celebrate the unparalleled civil rights history which took place in the building. 

We recognize that King Records is still with us and we can choose to be alive with the King thing.  We will continue to prioritize King Records artists and legacies as our focal guiding point and inspiration - if we are given the opportunity to act in the sacred Brewster building.  We seek to bring new life through King for generations to come and believe that our city's renaissance will only accelerate as we own of our music and civil rights culture.   We thank a united Mayor Cranley and City Council for their tremendous leadership and will be available for all decision-makers in the next steps of this process and opportunity.  

Humbly, 

Ms. Anzora Adkins, Mr. Kent Butts, Mr. Elliott Ruther, Ms. Patti Collins, Mr. Marvin Hawkins

 Read more about King Records' vast legacy here and here.

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