It’s been a rocking 11 years for the man who brought Kansas City Pennylane Records & The Pitch…
After cashing in big time on the Pitch in 1999, Hal Brody moved to California and until recently ran Oakland’s East Bay Express alternative news weekly. He’s been through lawsuits, business turnarounds and temperatures the likes of which have convinced him never to move back to the lowly Cowtown.
But Brody still owns the building that until January housed Pennylane successor Streetside Records.
Let’s start with a deal that fell through to lease or sell the building to Vinyl Renaissance, the Shawnee wax works and audiophile electronics seller. Earlier this year, staffers at both Streetside and VR confirmed Vinyl Renaissance’s hope to pick up where Streetside left off in Westport with a second prime location there.
"Yeah, I still got it," Brody says of the Westport landmark. "And I’ll go either way – sale or lease. I did talk to (VR owner) Dan Phillips. We had an agreement. He was actually storing some stuff there and paying me for that while he was (negotiating with) an investor to go in there."
Were the sky-high Westport CID taxes part of the reason VR opted for a smaller space on 39th Street?
"The CID was a factor, but I think he decided to go the cheaper route and 39th Street is smaller and cheaper," Brody says. "I think his investors ended up falling through and he decided to go to a cheaper place."
As for the rumors among Streetside staffers that VR might bring back the Pennylane name for it’s hoped-for Westport digs, "He talked to me about that," Brody says. "But I actually sold the name to Jack Brozman at Streetside."
Part of VR’s problem in convincing investors to bite off as bold a venture as opening a new Pennylane in Westport was:
"The record biz is a little like going into the newspaper business nowdays," Brody muses. "It’s just not there."
Parties interested in Brody’s building should contact Hilary Murray @ Copaken Brooks