Avatar Entertainment Corporation announced today that Avatar Studios, the legendary full-service, multi-room recording facility in New York City, is for sale. The recording business and building, which contains approximately 33,000 square feet, is located in Midtown West at 441 West 53rd Street.
“It is with a sense of both great excitement as well as some trepidation with which we make this announcement,” says Kirk Imamura, president of Avatar Entertainment Corporation. “Avatar is a magical place where some of the world’s most beautiful music has been recorded and it is my family’s hope that a new owner will choose to maintain its legacy as a pillar of the recording industry.”
Avatar Studios is one of only a handful of recording studios of its caliber remaining in the United States and boasts an impressive historical provenance where the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and David Bowie - to name a few - recorded seminal, career-changing music. Formally known as The Power Station, Avatar Studios is of significant historical importance to New York City and world culture. The owner of 20 years, Chieko Imamura, is hopeful that she can achieve a successful sale of both the real estate, as well as the business, to a party interested in preserving this invaluable resource and cherished New York City institution.
“Avatar plays an instrumental role in New York City’s cultural and economic fabric and it would be unfortunate if it was torn down,” says Mr. Imamura. “We can accommodate a wide array of clients including a 60 plus-piece orchestra or large Broadway cast & orchestra. Such facilities simply do not exist anywhere else in New York. We recognize that finding a purchaser for the business may be difficult and that the real estate alone may be more attractive.”
Avatar Studios boasts the best in both analog and digital with a wide assortment of vintage as well as state-of-the-art equipment to meet any and all recording needs including one of the world’s largest collections of Pultec equalizers.
Avatar Studios has greatly benefited from tax incentives available to TV and film production companies which make New York a very attractive option for film and entertainment executives, bringing associated music production work to Avatar. Recent projects recorded at Avatar includes the cast album for the Broadway hit Hamilton as well as the film score for an upcoming film by the famed Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan. Avatar was also recently used as a location for shoots for two upcoming television shows, HBO’s Vinyl, which is being executive produced by Marin Scorsese, and Baz Luhrmann’s Netflix creation, The Get Down. The theme song to Late Night with Stephen Colbert was recorded at Avatar as well.
“I have owned the studio for almost 20 years and at this time, I feel it was my obligation to the music industry and to lovers of music around the world, to at least provide an initial opportunity for a new owner to continue the studio and its legacy,” says Chieko Imamura. “I will do as much as I can to facilitate a successful transition.”
Originally founded in 1977 as The Power Station, the building was built as a power substation; but after a period of vacancy, it was transformed into a sound stage for the television game show Let's Make a Deal. In 1977, it was rebuilt as a recording studio by producer Tony Bongiovi – cousin of rock star Jon Bon Jovi - and his business partner Bob Walters, at which time it gained renown as one of the finest acoustic environments for recording in the world. It has won countless industry awards over the years. The building and business was purchased by the current owner in 1996 when it was renamed Avatar Studios
Primarily known for rock & roll and jazz, albums such as Madonna’s Like a Virgin, Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA, David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, Roxy Music’s Avalon were all recorded in this building. More recently, artists such as Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Nile Rodgers, Beck, Bruno Mars, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Josh Groban, Keith Urban, Harry Connick, Jr., Tony Bennett and Wynton Marsalis recorded their projects at Avatar. Avatar has also recorded film scores, Broadway cast recordings, orchestras, operas, string quartets and even chants by Tibetan monks and has hosted a variety of sessions from voice overs, e-books, talk radio to music videos.
For more information, visit www.441w53.nyc.
About Avatar Studios
Avatar Studios is a full service, multi-room recording facility in New York City that has been recording hits for almost 20 years. Renowned for great acoustic spaces, well maintained vintage gear, and professional client services, Avatar’s specialty is large ensemble and orchestral recordings, able to accommodate up to 60 plus pieces in Studio A. Avatar records Jazz, Rock and music for film, television, commercials and Broadway cast albums. Over 400 Gold & Platinum records have been recorded at Avatar Studios.