After broadcasting from leased space for 52 years, public radio KMFA 89.5—which calls itself the oldest independent all-classical station in Texas—is getting a new permanent home. The station has purchased land as part of a new East Austin development for a free-standing “classical media” facility, to open in late 2020.
The new home base will be three times the size of its current headquarters and will feature expanded studio facilities, a 120-seat performance and recording venue, expanded offices and both lobby and patio spaces to welcome the public for events or every day discovery.
“KMFA is evolving as Austin evolves. We are committed to meeting the demand for more live and local programming, robust onsite production and community events,” said Ann Wilson, KMFA’s President and GM. “These new headquarters will allow KMFA to share the joy of classical media in new ways for generations to come.”
The station says the new build is designed to “meet the demand for more live and local programming, robust onsite production and community events.” The term “classical media” is KMFA’s recognition that the future of radio must expand beyond traditional broadcast to embrace all the ways that audiences now discover and enjoy music, it said in a release.
With KMFA as the “cultural anchor,” the 18,000-square-foot development will also feature retail, green spaces, affordable housing for seniors, retail, offices and market rate rentals.
Once completed, the new building is projected annually to host 10,000 people at a variety of station events. KMFA will also offer the space for local arts organizations’ use, helping to fill the void in performance spaces for intimate concerts and recitals, master classes, audition recordings and other programs.
“Having KMFA in this development will bring the beating heart to this new community,” John Rosato, principal with developer Southwest Strategies Group, said. “They’ll be a wonderful addition to the sense of community we’re aiming to create here.”
The public station—which launched in 1968—purchased land adjacent to the Rebekah Baines Johnson Center (RBJ Center) as part of a to-be-named, mixed-use development east of Interstate 35 on the north shore of Lady Bird Lake. Groundbreaking is slated for July.