New SFJazz Center Begins To Take Shape

You may have noticed the giant slabs of concrete being poured for the new SFJazz Center on Franklin between Fell and Hayes. Ground broke roughly seven months ago, and the Jazz Center is slated to be ready in October — just in time for the 2013 season.

According to the Center's website, the 35,000ft² space will be the first "freestanding performance venue with flexible seating and staging for artists of every stature" in the western United States. It's going to be a LEED Gold Certified building, and will be able to seat up to 700 people.

Despite the size of the building, its designer insists it won't seem cavernous like, say, Carnegie Hall. In a 2011 interview with The Chronicle, Architect Mark Cavagnero described more intimate touches, like a ceramic mural from the very talented Sandow Birk hanging in the lobby, and a cafe on the ground floor from which patrons can watch the cool cats come and go during rehearsals.

SFJazz Executive Director Randal Kline has said he believes the space will be able to accommodate 200 shows a year — roughly twice the current number. That's a lot of music for our hungry ears, and if it means the likes of Ornette Coleman and Herbie Hancock could be hanging out in Hayes Valley, we're pretty jazzed about that.

For more information, or to keep tabs on the Center's progress, check out its website. There, you can watch a webcam of the construction, and learn about ways to donate or get involved.

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*UPDATE (2/27): The SFJAZZ Center reached out to let us know that the grand opening is now scheduled for January 2013.