From The Desk Of Jake Palumbo:
Guys & gals, I don’t really know where to start. I guess the easiest way would be to say there’s good news, & bad news? In my experience, it’s always best to start with the bad news first. I apologize in advance to the “Too Long, Didn’t Read” crowd, but this is neither a short or simple story.
The bad news is that we have been silently fighting a lengthy & complicated legal battle over the last year & some change, and the SpaceLAB – along with every other tenant we share an address with, are being forced to vacate the building we have called home for the last 6 years at 251 W. 30th Street, in the (soon to be renamed) Recording & Rehearsal Arts Building.
Unfortunately due to the legal nature of the matter, I am prohibited from speaking on most of what happened publicly (plus, I have to save something for my book). What I can say is the following: In October 2015, the Planet 2 Planet complex (aka the entire basement housing 6 studio spaces, 2 of which were mine – and studio floor that has been here since 1974, well before I was born) renewed its lease with our building for another three years In March of 2016, our building was sold for $54 Million to Herald Square Properties, a group of developers, intent on converting one of the longest-standing & last-remaining buildings that catered to musicians & their needs into luxury condos, with a few floors of luxury office space. The new owners quickly issued eviction notices, to everyone; and by everyone I mean every last tenant in the building. As owners, this was their right, except for the whole legal aspect of not being able to evict someone with a lease. Thus began a long & complicated legal battle that we both on the front lines for, as well as on the sidelines with our hands tied, being that the SpaceLAB & our neighbors are all technically sub-tenants of our landlord.
And that’s about all I can say here, unfortunately. The battle waged on, our lawyers initially got the first eviction notice thrown out, but after going through every type of twist & turns & speculated outcomes & “WTF” moments, as of 2 weeks ago we were forced to face the bottom line….we have to be out of here April 15th. Just to clarify a few things real quick:
1) This was in no way a vendetta against SpaceLAB Recordings, nor even against Planet 2 Planet; we were not singled out, the entire building – even the non-music businesses who rent space here – is being forced out in the name of helping convert Manhattan completely into a boutique playground for the 1%. This issue is WAY bigger than any of us, it’s just what NYC is unfortunately becoming 🙁
2) This is not our company “closing”, nor did the SpaceLAB fail financially, nor were we in rent default. On the contrary, we have grown consistently every year since opening 6 years ago this month.
3) I assure you we exhausted EVERY possibility in trying to uphold our lease as originally renewed, & spent a lot of money trying.
4) This sucks.
Wait, I thought you said there was going to be good news, Palumbo? Well the good news is, after having a complete & total nervous meltdown after receiving the news that arguably the greatest era of my life, & residency on the block I’ve called home for almost a decade (I worked at Play Studios in the building next door prior to opening this place) was coming to an end……eventually you have no choice but to pick up the pieces, and yourself, & keep it moving. I’m happy to say we have already located a new studio space, deposit is down, lease is signed. We will be re-opening at our new location at 1080 Wyckoff Ave in Brooklyn on or before May 1st. I get the keys to the new space April 1st, we’ll be out of here after April 15th, I’m going to take a few days or a week off to re-charge my heart & mind, then it’s back to the races!
The space is a little smaller than what we had before, but it’s dope, the rent is better, and our building is a giant creative community that even has a coffee shop, restaurant, & performance venue attached to the side…..so guess who may start throwing shows again!?!?! Ultimately, change is often a good thing, so post-meltdown I’ve tried to adjust my attitude into seeing this as being forced (at gunpoint) into addressing the issues in my business that need to be addressed, which are:
1) SpaceLAB as a company makes good money, but almost all of the profits go towards maintaining Manhattan overhead, & not towards building for the future or re-investing into bigger projects.
2) I work on average 12 hours per day, but sometimes as many as 15 hours, 6-7 days per week, & while I enjoy a large chunk of my work, a large chunk of it I definitely do NOT enjoy. This has lead to burnout, medical exhaustion, health issues, but mostly me being cranky all the time (I know y’all had to notice). So for the sake of everyone, I need to scale back my workload to predominately things I enjoy working on, with people I enjoy working with.
3) As I stare down my old age (lol) for some odd reason, my career as an artist & producer is getting more attention than it ever has, & I need to maximize these opportunities while I still have a chance to do so.
4) I CONSTANTLY miss out on shows, cyphers, panels, parties & all types of events that would behoove me to attend & network at, because I’m CONSTANTLY in the studio doing sessions to earn more money just to fund that rent check for next month. I’d like to be able to hang out with y’all more, & maybe even tour again!
Also, I have a pretty dope deal with the owners of the new building that both allows me a long-term lease if I’m happy in the new space, and also allows the option to leave easily & peacefully should I find another space better suited for us along the way. I will be going live on Facebook or doing a video later to discuss some of the other details of the matter, how we got here, & more details on the plans for the future, but I’d like to re-iterate that WE ARE NOT CLOSING, WE ARE JUST MOVING.
I would like to end here by saying a sincere & heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who EVER worked on music here, referred a friend, spent their hard-earned bread to record here, or get your songs mixed. I have seen MANY studios drop dead due to lack of clientele, & it gives be great pride to know we we stayed booked up as much as 1-2 weeks in advance, with virtually no advertisement, ever; our busy calendar was all repeat clients & referrals from other clients. We could have never done this without you, & I hope you will join us at our new location & continue to choose SpaceLAB for all your audio & musical needs.
Many thanks also to EVERYONE who worked here to help keep this place running – first off my right-hand man Mo Kofuma, who gave a lot of himself to help keep this place running for the last 5 years, Michael Goodwin, Kelly Rodriguez, Leo “Eaz The Engineer” Lara (PREP Sound), Louis Rossmann for helping me get started, Jon Grossbard for being a rock-n-roll landlord, our freelance producers & engineers Coptic, Buck3000, Jay Pluto, PM Lawson, Ben Arrindel, Mak Pacius, & Duncan “Ducada” Forbes who chose our studio as their workspace, my awesome neighbors Phil Moffa, Michael Gratezer & Michael Gannon, our wonderful night time building super Rohan Rohit, & last but not least, the constant, never-ending source of laughter & entertainment in our lobby – my bro Petro.
I’m really excited about this next step, & happy to find adventure in the unknown & uncertain. While most of the news we read each day is dismal, & we’re about to undertake a large transitional workload, I must say the future looks as bright as it ever has 🙂
– Jake Palumbo