King Records Studio Buildings in Cincinnati added to National Register of Historic Places | cultural | Cincinnati

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Photo: Hailey Bollinger

The King Records site in Evanston has a new honor.

The King Records Legacy Foundation has taken another step on the road to preserving the legacy of King Records.

On September 6, the King Records studio buildings, located at 1536-1540 Brewster Ave. in Evanston, have been officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Listing on the National Register of Historic Places will not only provide certain tax credits, easements and grants to those who develop the property, but will also give King Records even more “gravity,” as Charlie Dahan, co-author of the nomination from King Records. proposal, calls him.

“[Being on the National Register of Historic Places] gives gravity to this building,” Dahan said. CityBeat in a previously published interview. “The federal government says it’s an important place in American history – that it’s not just important to Cincinnati and Ohio, but it’s important to every American citizen, from Alaska to Florida to Maine.”

King Records’ place on the National Register of Historic Places cements its status as an iconic part of the nation’s musical history. From the 1940s to the early 1970s, the Cincinnati label produced several famous and legendary musicians, including James Brown, Bootsy Collins, Philip Paul and Otis Williams.

Last June, the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board approved the nomination of the King Records complex for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Nominations for properties in Ohio are processed by the State Historic Preservation Office, then approved proposals are sent to the National Park Service, which ultimately makes the final decision.

The former King Records studio/office on Brewster Avenue was named a historic landmark by the city in 2015, and in 2018 the Cincinnati City Council approved a land swap with the former studio’s current owner, which threatened to demolish dilapidated buildings. .

The City of Cincinnati owns several of the original plots at 1540 Brewster Ave. This part was built in 1921 and is partly “a one-story brick warehouse that houses 17,604 square feet and occupies 0.69 acres,” says Dahan. Attached to this building is a “one-story utility garage” which Dahan describes as being in good condition.

When this space operated as King Records, the building on the first plot had two floors. The second floor housed offices, warehouses, a remix studio and the art department. The first floor contained a large studio and areas for shipping and receiving, printing, inspection and inserting, plating and testing, machine shop, press room and hall of the factory, according to a sketch of The History of King Records by Darren Blase.

The remaining parcels, now privately owned, are at 1548 Brewster Ave. – three interconnected structures, 26,434 square feet on 0.414 acres. This portion of the property is not listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Since its inception in 2020, the King Records Legacy Foundation has worked to develop a vision for a historic complex that will forever mark Evanston as the birthplace of a special sound that influenced the nation. This placement on the National Register of Historic Places will contribute to this vision, which includes the creation of a learning center about the property that features interactive aspects, including a recording studio, performance space, rotating exhibits and permanent and an abundant collection of historical artifacts. .

“On behalf of the King Records Legacy Foundation and what we represent, we are extremely pleased to see this major milestone come to light for the local to global community,” said Kent Butts, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director. from King Records Legacy. Foundation, said in a statement to CityBeat. “It’s well deserved and long overdue! We are honored to be stewards of King Records and to be part of the success of this company and other endeavors on its behalf.”

A big part of this new vision for the historic complex includes the revitalization of properties in Evanston. The King Records Legacy Foundation has entered into a development agreement with the city to renovate the complex which will likely be finalized by the end of September. For now, the group is working with a program of at least three years and an initial tentative budget of $20 million. So far, the foundation has secured $200,000 in private funding and $1 million pledged by the city.

As Beth Johnson, executive director of the Cincinnati Preservation Association, put it CityBeat in a previously published interview, a place on the National Register of Historic Places creates an opportunity for the foundation to claim historic tax credits.

“One of the most important things is that it opens up the building to eligibility for historic tax credits, which, in combination with the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit as well as the federal, can provide up to 45% expense credit. when it comes to rehabilitating the building,” says Johnson.

These funds would come in handy, given the great vision the King Records Legacy Foundation has for the studio’s legacy.

For more information about listing King Records on the National Register of Historic Places, visit

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