The new venue, World Cafe Live, features a live music cafe and a 350-person music hall, both with full food and beverage service. It also shares the building that is the new home for WXPN, the public radio station that produces World Cafe®.
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. Today, WXPN, the nationally-acclaimed public radio station of the University of Pennsylvania, marked the official grand opening of its new studios while Real Entertainment Group, founded by local entrepreneur Hal Real, unveiled Philadelphia’s most innovative music performance venue—World Cafe Live. Both organizations are located in the former Hajoca building at 3025 Walnut Street in Philadelphia.
Dranoff Properties is the developer of the $15 million restoration of the 40,000 square foot historic building. WXPN and Real Entertainment Group have partnered to bring a world-class music performance space for World Cafe Live and state-of-the-art production and broadcasting facilities for the station under the same roof. While sharing space in a common building, the two entities are independently owned and operated. The venture, an unusual collaboration between a for-profit entertainment facility and a not-for-profit public radio station, stems from a shared commitment to offer a wide range of diverse music.
Music fans from across the region and beyond will be able to enjoy live music in an intimate, relaxed and comfortable setting at World Cafe Live. The venue is named after the award-winning World Cafe music program produced by WXPN and syndicated to more than 170 public radio stations nationwide. World Cafe Live is designed to provide music lovers with an exceptional listening experience and artists with a state-of-the-art venue that captures the warmth and intimacy of WXPN and its flagship program.
“This state-of-the-art entertainment facility is
just one more example of neighborhood revitalization taking
place throughout our city,” said Mayor John F. Street. “WXPN
is a valuable resource and a cultural treasure. In addition
to this major investment, World
Cafe presents Philadelphia with a tremendous opportunity to broadcast our creative talents to the world.”
In addition, signage for the exterior of the building
displays the newly designed logos created for each entity.
In keeping with the art deco styling of the building, the
logo is displayed above the Walnut Street entrance in a red neon sign. The World Cafe Live sign—backlit and fashioned to appear as a spotlight—appears over the door. Window canopies along Walnut Street feature graphic images of musicians. On the 31st Street side, concertgoers and visitors can enter the building through the “Donor Alley,” the back wall where the names of contributors to the Campaign for WXPN will be showcased.
“The renovation of the Hajoca Building into state-of-the art facilities housing World Cafe Live and WXPN has enhanced the gateway to the University of Pennsylvania campus along Walnut Street,” said Carl Dranoff, president of Dranoff Properties. “This one-of-a-kind project further amplifies this location as ‘the smart side of center city’ which began with the introduction of the Left Bank’s 282 new luxury lofts in 2001.”
“Today is a dream come true for me, as well as all
of the people who helped make this project a reality by
contributing their resources, time and talent,” said
Hal Real, president
of Real Entertainment Group and founder of World Cafe Live. “We hope World Cafe Live will be an inspiration for anyone who loves live music and singer songwriters who will perform and experience this truly remarkable space.”
Roger LaMay, general manager of WXPN, believes the new office and studio space will give XPN members an even more intimate musical experience. “We want to thank all of our loyal XPN members for helping us move into this extraordinary new home,” said LaMay. “This move enables us to expand our mission of connecting audiences to new music and nurturing artists who are unable to find a home on commercial radio.”
Three top area architectural and design teams, DAS Architects,
Bower Lewis Thrower Architects and Meyer Associates, combined
their talents to create a space that retains the character
of the historic building, yet imbibes it with high-tech
sound systems and modern design elements. From the art
deco facade and grand staircase to the rustic wood, ceramics, and brightly colored woven rugs, the designers
have utilized open space,
color and materials in a creative and effective way to produce a setting that is both sophisticated and comfortable. Philadelphia-based Intech Corporation is the general contractor for the project.
In addition, the lobby shared by WXPN and World Cafe Live will be the home of two striking murals, created by the City of Philadelphia’s renowned Mural Arts Program. The murals, created by two different artists, grace one wall in the upstairs entry area and two walls in the lower level lobby.
“The opening of this wonderful new facility is a terrific milestone for WXPN and World Cafe Live for Penn and the City of Philadelphia. Music fans from throughout the region will come to University City to enjoy live music in a wonderfully renovated art deco building that is yet another example of Penn’s continuing commitment to community revitalization,” said Dr. Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania.
WXPN and Real Entertainment Group are commemorating the opening with a variety of activities during the month of October. A complete calendar of events and artist performances through December 2004 are available on WXPN and the World Cafe Live websites.
WXPN 88.5 FM is the non-commercial, member-supported radio service of the University of Pennsylvania and the premier source for an eclectic and inspiring mix of music including rock, blues, roots, and folk. WXPN produces the nationally syndicated World Cafe, public radio’s most popular program of popular music. WXPN serves the greater Philadelphia area at 88.5 FM, the Lehigh Valley at 104.9, Worton/Baltimore at 90.5 FM, and Harrisburg at 88.1 FM. It is also available via online streaming at www.xpn.org.
Real Entertainment Group is the creator and operator of World Cafe Live. This privately held company was founded in 2001 by Philadelphia area entrepreneur, Hal Real. Real Entertainment Group’s mission is to create dynamic, intimate live music environments where artists can deliver their best performances for audiences who come to listen and experience new musical discoveries – “Live Music for Music Lovers.” For more information on World Cafe Live, visit www.worldcafelive.com or call (215) 222-1400. With two separate performance spaces featuring the most advanced acoustic technology, World Cafe Live, which includes a live music cafe and a 350-person music hall, both with full food and beverage service, looks to be a place where musicians can perform their best for audiences who come to listen. Like its inspiration, WXPN's legendary program, World Cafe hosted by David Dye, this state-of-the-art complex will present music seven days a week by performers both famous and emerging, from a broad array of genres. Located in the historic Hajoca Building at 3025 Walnut Street, World Cafe Live, which is independently owned and operated and which will share space with XPN's new office and broadcasting facilities, has been in development for six years and will launch in October 2004.
Dranoff Properties, Inc. was formed in 1997 under the ownership and direction of renowned real estate developer Carl E. Dranoff. Based in Philadelphia, for over two decades, Dranoff has been a major force in large-scale urban development and the adaptive reuse of major historic properties. The Dranoff name has become synonymous with urban rejuvenation and high quality market-rate residential properties.
In 2001 Dranoff completed the $58 million transformation of the largest single residential renovation in Pennsylvania – the former Pennsylvania Railroad Freight Warehouse Building. This 700,000 square foot vacant structure was purchased by the University of Pennsylvania, which in turn selected Dranoff to redevelop the property under a long-term ground lease. Dranoff Properties rejuvenated and renewed this historic property, “The Left Bank,” and created 282 spectacular luxury loft apartments, a 260-car garage, fitness center, retail space and 100,000 square feet of office space. The Left Bank has been cited as the “gateway” to the University of Pennsylvania and has lived up to its reputation as being the important link from center city Philadelphia to University City – “the smart side of center city.”
In 2003 Dranoff completed the $65 million redevelopment of one of the largest rehabilitation projects in the country, transforming the former RCA Victor “Nipper” Building with its famous stained glass Jack Russell terrier listening to “his master’s voice,” into 341 luxury loft apartments plus ground floor retail and parking, thus breathing new life into the Camden, New Jersey, waterfront and setting the stage for an entirely new neighborhood with the largest single private housing investment in Camden in more than 40 years.
In 2005, Dranoff Properties will launch a new era on the Avenue of the Arts in Philadelphia with the groundbreaking of Symphony House at Broad and Pine Streets, a 31-story tower, home to 167 brand new, premier condominiums and home to the Philadelphia Theatre Company. Symphony House will also incorporate street level retail and a parking garage for 400 vehicles. Dranoff Properties’ reputation for constantly setting new standards in urban residential communities has earned it the respect of its peers in the industry and in so doing has established the firm as among the most influential forces in the transformation of urban properties and the revitalization of entire neighborhoods.
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