LOS ANGELES - Rumors that the Capitol Records tower, which looks like a stack of records and is one of the world's most recognizable buildings, could be sold to a developer who might convert it into condos has sparked concern among city leaders and preservationists.
They say the building where Capitol Records helped produce and distribute music for Frank Sinatra, the Beatles and many other musicians, is too much of an icon to be turned into housing.
Preservationists said they like the idea that music continues to be made inside the 13-story office tower and that it should not become just a landmark of the past.
"If they leave, it'll take something away from Hollywood," said Erin Bennett, a hostess at Hollywood and Vine, a restaurant named after the famed intersection close to the building. "It'll be an old building that used to be something."
Besides its architectural significance, the tower is a symbol of enterprise and talent, said Diana Rubio, a spokeswoman for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
"There isn't any other building like it," Rubio said. "It's a lot like the Hollywood sign, and there's only one Capitol Records building."
A spokeswoman for record label EMI, which owns the tower, said that although the company was not "actively shopping" the building, it had received several serious proposals from interested buyers.
"We have a responsibility to look at anything serious," said EMI spokeswoman Jeanne Murphy.
Villaraigosa and city officials were working with EMI to head off a sale. About 160 Capitol Records employees work in the building.