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Future uncertain for Pyramid Sound Studios

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Future uncertain for Pyramid Sound Studios
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Is it a dangerous structure or just in danger of being shut down? After nearly 40 years, an Ithaca business may be condemned. But supporters say Pyramid Sound Studios is being unfairly treated. Tamara Lindstrom has more.

ITHACA, N.Y. -- From the depths an unassuming building has come some extraordinary sound.

"For almost 40 years. Different styles based on regional bands and a lot of national acts," said Alex Perialas, engineer and owner of Pyramid Sound Recording Studios in Ithaca.

"A lot of people drive by that building and see a scruffy awning and a plaster facade with some cracks in it that's very dirty and they don't have a clue that there's a really top flight recording studio," said musician Jeff Claus.

But now, the Pyramid Sound Studios hangs in the balance and too near an aging bridge.

"It's more than 70 years old," said Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick. "And the federal government came in and said look, this is a bridge that we're afraid could collapse if it's not replaced in the next couple of years. So the time to replace it is now."

The City of Ithaca began to replace the Clinton Street Bridge and checked out the neighboring studio as well.

"So they did an engineering analysis and they came back with a report that showed there are serious problems with the foundation, there are serious cracks in the wall and that any shifting of soils could cause a collapse in the building," Myrick said.

But some say there's a big problem with that report and that the only reason the building would be in danger is because of the construction itself.

"It's what's called a dynamic assessment, which is an assessment of the building as it would be impacted by the construction project," Claus said.

"Static pile driving is the most aggressive way to build something. It's also the cheapest. You're whacking a piece of steel with a lot of force, and it shakes everything around it," Perialas said. "There's other methods."

Perialas says the building is stable and on Wednesday, musicians and community members made some noise at City Hall.

"Alex has made an amazing installation in there with his equipment, both cutting edge and brand new," said singer Amy Puryear. "He's been in business for 38 years. It's a family business and deserves to stay."

The mayor has offered to pitch in $20,000 toward the needed repairs, but Perialas says the city won't give him the time to assess the situation or complete the construction.

Both sides are still negotiating.

"It changes by the hour, so it's hard to say," Perialas said. "I'm not really sure what's going to happen."

And hoping to strike a chord that resonates with all involved.

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