In a shocking move aimed at softening their massive debt load, EMI has put the iconic Abbey Road Studios, arguably the most famous recording facility in the world, up for sale. No asking price was mentioned, but several estimates put the price at between tens of millions, and 100 million British Pounds, or almost $200,000,000 US. What's not clear is whether the building comes with the rights to the Abbey Road name, which could make a huge difference in what someone is willing to pay.
EMI has owned the facility since 1929, but its fame comes mostly from the fact that almost everything The Beatles ever recorded was done here, including their (chronologically) final album which bears the name of the studio.
It's hard to say what the ideal scenario for Beatle fans is. Abbey Road has remained a busy working studio since The Beatles left the building nearly forty years ago, and even the legendary "Beatles" Studio 2 has seen tremendous technological changes in the decades since 1970. What has been preserved however is the actual studio room itself, and even today it features the same parquet floor and drab white walls as when The Beatles recorded Love Me Do on September 4th 1962.
Part of me would like to see it turned into a museum, so the average Beatles fan can finally go to what many consider to be hallowed ground, to see where the magic actually happened. On the other hand, it would be great if it could continue to operate as a working studio. All that's needed is someone with very deep pockets who appreciates the legacy of the place. Are you listening Sir Paul and Ms. Ono?
The real crime would be if someone turned it turned into a private home, or heaven forbid, knocked it down to build some fugly modern house. That would be like knocking down the Sistene Chapel to put up a condo.