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Posted by Priya on August 2, 2019
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With 2.6 million people, almost half of Bay Area adults, using a KQED service each week, the KQED board of directors decided to renovate its building at 2601 Mariposa to allow for future growth in years to come.

By Lisa Brown

February 08, 2019 at 04:00 AM


The KQED renovation will begin in summer with reopening scheduled for the winter of 2021.

SAN FRANCISCO—Since 1992, when KQED purchased and moved into its headquarters at 2601 Mariposa, the company has more than doubled in size with 450 employees. And, 2.6 million people, almost half of Bay Area adults, use a KQED service each week. The current building cannot support KQED as it operates now and continues to grow in the future

After a year‐long due diligence process, consultant David Polatnick of Polatnick Properties presented KQED with more than 40 options to lease or purchase a new headquarters. Armed with that information, KQED’s board of directors decided to renovate the building at 2601 Mariposa St.

“In today’s market, one has to analyze the value you can get for your existing building against what a new facility would cost, including the acquisition and remodeling,” said Polatnick.

The renovation process will begin this summer and the building is scheduled to reopen in the winter of 2021. During that time, the station will temporarily relocate to 50 Beale St., where all of KQED’s broadcast and digital services will continue uninterrupted during the transition.

KQED scoured the marketplace to find a well‐funded sublessor that needed to sublease space for a short period of time. Enter the Bechtel Corporation.

While Bechtel was founded in San Francisco in 1898 as a railroad builder, it recently moved its headquarters to Reston, VA, allowing KQED the opportunity to sublease some of that vacated space. Polatnick helped secure a swing space in 50 Beale at rents of 45% less than today’s rates.

Designed by the architectural team at EHDD, the newly renovated building will showcase KQED’s inclusive, community‐minded and ambitious vision for the future of public media. The project is expected to cost $90 million, which includes construction and transition costs, and a budget for contingencies.

The renovation project is part of Campaign 21, KQED’s multi-year campaign to increase content creation capacity and fund internal innovation. The new building will allow KQED to expand its public programming with new community spaces. And, the structure will undergo seismic upgrades with a LEED Gold certification target. Modern office and production spaces will create a workplace with maximum flexibility.

The new layout will be more conducive to collaboration and can accommodate up to 40% further growth. In addition, an enhanced indoor environment will include improved lighting, thermal comfort, air quality and healthy materials.

“Community has always been at the center of KQED’s mission, and is the guiding principle of the new design, which envisions an accessible building that mirrors the innovative spirit of the Bay Area,” Polatnick tells “The glassy dynamic facade of the new headquarters reflects KQED’s commitment to transparency. The lifted corner entry, the expanded new lobby and new programming spaces, including a rooftop event space, create a vibrant and welcoming place to convene, connect and engage with all that KQED does.”

Indeed, the renovation will provide community spaces including The Commons, 3,850-square-foot theater with seating for 240 to 340, a 3,000-square-foot roof terrace with a 250-person standing capacity and a 2,900-square-foot entry lobby with a 100 to 150-person standing capacity. In addition, there will be a 1,850-square-foot boardroom with 130-person lecture seating capacity featuring video capture, live streaming and video conferencing; a community meeting space and separate multi-purpose room; production/editing spaces and innovation lab with audience research space; 38 meeting and 14 phone rooms; quiet rooms and a library, learns.

Polatnick has also spearheaded securing, repurposing and/or reimagining projects with numerous buildings including 1355 Market St., 660 Third St., 99 Rhode Island, 650 Townsend and 731 Sansome. He has worked with eBay, Wired Magazine, Sega of America, Ziff‐Davis, WR Hambrecht, General Electric, Steelcase, Masco Corporation, Butterfield & Butterfield, Macromedia, the San Francisco Giants, Macrovision and Frog Designs. In addition, Polatnick has worked with other nonprofit clients, such as the Exploratorium, the California College of Arts, Affordable Housing Associates, JCC of Marin, The Walter and Elise Haas Fund, The Waldorf School and the San Francisco Art Institute.

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