Dallas / Fort Worth / Denton —KERA and Kaizen Development Partners are excited to announce a development partnership in Uptown Dallas — including residential and commercial towers, as well as a new, community-centric broadcast headquarters for KERA. The two organizations have signed a Purchase and Sale Agreement, with plans to break ground at the end of 2024.
“North Texans have relied on KERA for essential news and programming for over 60 years,” says Nico Leone, President & CEO of KERA. “But our current facilities simply aren’t equipped to meet the needs of our growing community for the next 60 years and beyond. We’re thrilled to work with Kaizen to develop a new building that allows us to better serve and connect with the North Texas community — now and for generations to come.”
“It’s a privilege to partner with KERA on this generational opportunity,” says Derrick Evers, Managing Partner & CEO of Kaizen. “KERA has been a pillar of the community for decades, so for us to have a small role in helping them extend their mission and be participatory in the execution is very meaningful.”
Since its launch in 1960, KERA has been located at Harry Hines Blvd. in Dallas, Texas. Known as “The Little Red Schoolhouse of the Air,” and located in WFAA’s former studios, the station empowered viewers of all ages by offering programs that focused on news, education, music, and arts & culture.
Now, as part of the partnership, Kaizen will purchase approximately 2.4 acres of KERA’s property on the southern end of the site for their new residential and Class AA office towers, and oversee development of the entire site with KERA’s new building on the remaining northern end of the property.
Law firm Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. represented KERA in the transaction. JLL’s Blake Shipley, T.D. Briggs, and Ayanna Jarvis have been retained by Kaizen to lead the leasing efforts for the 400,000 sf office tower. This will be accompanied by the residential tower and approximately 20,000 sf of restaurant / retail space with an expected delivery in 2027.
On the northern end of the property, KERA’s new facilities will be an inspiring, communal center not just for many of KERA’s platforms and services, but for the North Texas community at large. Located adjacent to the Katy Trail, at the end of the Dallas North Tollway, many aspects of the headquarters will be both visible and accessible to the community and serve as a welcoming gateway to downtown Dallas.
“On air and online, KERA is a hub of trusted information, news and joy,” says Christopher Wagley, Chief Operating Officer at KERA. “This new facility will be a game changer for KERA. KERA’s physical space will reflect our organizational mission while continuing to serve as our broadcast operations hub. With its unique position on Dallas’ Katy Trail, this new building will be a central destination for the staff, audiences, members, donors and volunteers that help make KERA’s essential services possible for millions of people.”
Ahead of breaking ground in 2024, KERA will temporarily relocate from its current location while a new facility is constructed on their existing site adjacent to the Katy Trail. KERA has selected Corgan to design the new facility, focused on content creation and community engagement. Gardiner & Theobald will serve as project manager.
Lucy Billingsley, KERA Board Member and Facilities Task Force Chair, led the process to find the right design partner for the public media organization. “After a thorough process, KERA selected Corgan as our architect of record. Their expertise in designing unique facilities paired with their experience in broadcast operations made them the right choice to build this transformative HQ. Along with Gardiner & Theobald as the project manager, KERA has chosen partners that share a commitment to serving and convening our community.”
KERA’s new building will also serve as headquarters for its satellite locations. In the last several years, KERA has launched innovative journalism collaborations including leading The Texas Newsroom, a statewide journalism hub with public media stations across Texas; a collaboration with the digital nonprofit news service, The Fort Worth Report; and Arts Access, a partnership with The Dallas Morning News to expand arts journalism in North Texas through the lens of equity and access.
In the last year, KERA also entered into a management agreement with the city of Dallas for classical station WRR and purchased the Denton Record-Chronicle. As part of the operating agreement with the city, WRR will continue to broadcast from its studios in Fair Park for the next several years. Additionally, the Denton Record-Chronicle will remain located in Denton.
“While planning our new headquarters, we’re also proud to be expanding our presence across the entire region we serve,” says Leone. “We share office space with The Fort Worth Report in Fort Worth, collaborate at The Dallas Morning News, operate WRR out of Fair Park in East Dallas — and have just welcomed the Record-Chronicle in Denton. Through this network of united hubs, KERA can more effectively connect with, represent and serve our entire North Texas community.”