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PHILADELPHIA-The 40,000-sf Hajoca Building, a 1920s Art Deco structure at 3025 Walnut Street, opened as the new home of WXPN, which is the University of Pennsylvania’s public radio station, and a live music complex operated by Real Entertainment Group. Locally based Dranoff Properties is the developer of the $15-million restoration.

The venture represents an unusual collaboration between a for-profit entertainment facility and a not-for-profit public radio station. While sharing space under the same roof, the WXPN studio and Real Entertainment’s café and 350-seat music hall are independently owned and operated. The station and the entertainment company, founded by local entrepreneur Hal Real, each raised $3.5 million for the project, and Dranoff provided the additional $8 million. The property received historic renovation tax credits. The building takes its name from WXPN’s award-winning music program, World Café, which is syndicated to more than 170 public radio stations nationwide.

The architectural team retained the building’s Art Deco façade, grand staircase and other original features while retrofitting it with high-tech sound systems and elements of modern design. The team included locally based DAS Architects, Bower Lewis Thrower and Meyer Associates. Intech Corp., also locally based, was general contractor.

In 2001, Dranoff converted the former 700,000-sf Pennsylvania Railroad Freight Warehouse into the Left Bank, a 282-unit residential loft building that also includes a fitness center, retail space and 100,000 sf of office space. Of World Café Live, Carl Dranoff, president, says, “This one-of-a-kind project further amplifies this location as ‘the smart side of Center City’,” which is a reference to both projects’ location in the University City neighborhood that begins along the west bank of the Schuylkill River. Additional projects are under way to further connect University City and Center City, which begins on the river’s east bank. Among those projects is Brandywine Realty Trust’s Cira Centre office tower, now under construction.

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