The new venue, World Cafe Live, will include a live music café and a 350-person music hall, both with full food and beverage service. The building will also be the new home for the station.
Philadelphia, PA WXPN, the nationally-acclaimed public radio station of the University of Pennsylvania, and Real Entertainment Group, founded by local entrepreneur Hal Real, previewed the home of what many believe will be Philadelphia's most innovative music performance venue-World Cafe Live-and the radio station's new broadcast facilities and offices. The opening is scheduled for October 2004.
Dranoff Properties is the developer of the $15 million restoration of the 40,000 square foot former Hajoca building. WXPN and Real Entertainment Group have partnered to create a world-class music performance space for World Cafe Live and state-of-the-art studios for the radio station. (WXPN and World Cafe Live will operate independently.)
Music fans from across the region and beyond will be able to
enjoy live music in a 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 160
public radio stations nationwide. World Cafe Live is designed
to provide music lovers with an exceptional listening experience
and 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."
Also announced were signage plans for the exterior of the building that will display the newly designed logos created for each entity. In keeping with the art deco styling of the building the WXPN logo will be displayed above the Walnut Street entrance in a red neon sign. The World Cafe Live sign - backlit and fashioned to appear as a spotlight - will appear over the door. Window canopies along Walnut Street will feature graphic images of musicians. On the 31st Street side concert goers and visitors will enter the building through the "Donor Alley," the back wall where the names of contributors to the Campaign for WXPN will be showcased.
"We are thrilled that after five years of dreaming, planning and executing on our vision, this is now becoming a reality," said Real. "The creativity, flexibility and spirit of cooperation among all the contributors to this project have been truly extraordinary, and are what made it possible for this dream to come true."
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 façade 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.
Roger LaMay, general manager of WXPN, said: "This project is really a testament to the passion of WXPN members and listeners. From Hal Real who had the vision for World Cafe Live to the thousands of financial contributors who are helping us build our new broadcast facilities, it's the XPN community of music fans that is making this happen."
Developer Carl Dranoff noted, "The renovation of the Hajoca
Building into state-of-the-art facilities housing World Cafe Live
and WXPN provided another excellent opportunity for Dranoff Properties
to enhance the 'gateway' to the University of Pennsylvania campus
along the 'Left Bank' of Walnut Street."
WXPN and Real Entertainment Group are planning a month-long music festival and open house for October 2004.
WXPN-FM is the non-commercial public radio service of
the University of Pennsylvania and the premier radio showcase
for contemporary music that spans the progressive edges
of rock, folk, rhythm and blues, and American roots. WXPN can be heard in the greater Philadelphia/South Jersey area on 88.5 FM. in the Lehigh Valley at 104.9 FM, in Worton/Baltimore at 90.5 FM, and in Harrisburg at 88.1 FM. WXPN is also available worldwide via streaming audio at www.xpn.org. The station also produces programming for national syndication. Its signature series World Cafe with David Dye is distributed by Public Radio International and broadcasts daily on more than 160 public radio stations nationwide. WXPN produces the Peabody-Award winning Kids Corner, hosted by Kathy O'Connell. WXPN also produces the annual Singer Songwriter Weekend two-day music festival. For more information visit www.xpn.org, www.WorldCafe.org, www.kidscorner.org, or call WXPN at (215) 898-6677.
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.