NPR has moved to a new $201 million headquarters with all digital equipment in Washington, leaving its analog radio gear behind. The public radio network began broadcasting 4/13 from its new home nine blocks north of the Capitol. NPR is consolidating its staff in one building after being spread across several sites for years. Its flagship shows “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition” will migrate to the new facility over the next week.
NPR says the new facility was designed to accommodate the network’s evolution from a radio broadcaster to a multimedia operation. It includes a two-story newsroom where news, music and digital staff work together. Studios were designed with public viewing areas.
NPR also has 17 foreign bureaus, 17 U.S. bureaus and a studio in LA.
“Our new headquarters sets the stage for public radio’s next leap forward,” said Gary Knell, NPR President and CEO. “Today, NPR is an essential source of national and international news and cultural programming for millions of radio listeners, and increasingly for those who rely on mobile and web platforms. We are confident that, working in partnership with our Member stations, we will set the standard for the next generation of journalism and audio storytelling from this new home.”
The new NPR headquarters comprises two integrated blocks: the bulk of a historically preserved four-story 1920’s era warehouse and a new, modern seven-story office block that rises behind. The building contains approximately 330,000 square feet of above-grade space and 440,000 total square feet. It will accommodate NPR’s DC-based staff of approximately 767 that is currently spread across three buildings – 635 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, and two nearby leased locations.
The heart of the building is a two-story open newsroom with broadcast and production studios to accommodate NPR’s round-the-clock schedule. NPR’s news, music, programming and digital staff are co-located on these floors. In addition to serving as center for NPR’s operations, the building is also home to the Public Radio Satellite System, an independent distribution system that moves public radio content across the country.
Visitors enter the building through a landscaped plaza. Upon entering they will find an exhibit and a multimedia mosaic dedicated to NPR’s story, a performance studio that seats up to 250, and the NPR Commons, an events space for small groups and site of the NPR Shop. NPR expects to host many public events in the new headquarters.
NPR sold its 635 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, building at the market’s peak in 2008 and entered into a lease-back arrangement with the buyer, Boston Properties, which provided development management services of the new building for NPR. The real estate transaction was named “Best Deal of the Year” by the Washington Business Journal at their 2008 Real Estate Awards.