NBC 5 / KXAS-TV broke ground on construction Friday on its state-of-the-art broadcasting and multimedia news facility located in The CentrePort Business Park just south of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Fort Worth.
Dignitaries from NBCUniversal, NBC 5/KXAS-TV's parent company; NBC 5; Telemundo 39 and several other NBC business units were on hand for the official start to the project.
"It's a very exciting day -- not just personally -- but I'm happy for all the employees for KXAS, Telemundo, all the NBCUniversal employees that are going to be joining us in this state-of-the-art facility," said Tom Ehlmann, NBC 5 president and general manager.
The technologically advanced facility is being specifically designed to provide the resources for journalists to collect, interpret and report the news and information most relevant to North Texans, 24 hours each day on multiple distribution platforms.
The 75,000-square-foot building will combine NBC 5 facilities currently located on Broadcast Hill in east Fort Worth and in downtown Dallas to the 8.1-acre site in Fort Worth.
"We are moving the sales office in Dallas to Fort Worth under one roof," said Matt Varney, NBC 5 vice president of engineering. "Some people who've worked together for 10 to 15 years and never met each other -- it's going to be sort of family reunion."
The project developer, KDC, will begin construction by the first week in July and will finish by December 2013. Bill Guthrey, senior vice president of KDC and the unofficial mayor of CentrePort, said NBC 5 coming to the development is a perfect fit, given the history of Amon Carter.
"Sometimes, you're just lucky," he said. "This is the old Amon Carter Field. Amon Carter Boulevard was the old runway. To have them (NBC 5) anchoring the corner of FAA (Road) and Amon Carter is serendipitous."
The new facility's address will be 4805 Amon Carter Blvd. -- "48" in honor of 1948, when NBC 5 first went on air as WBAP-TV, and "05" for channel 5.
The location will improve NBC 5's ability to cover North Texas as it continues to grow.
"The North Texas viewing area keeps getting larger and larger, and this allows us to move right into the center population area of the entire market," Ehlmann said. "And it's going to allow us to serve all of the communities of North Texas, as well as Fort Worth."
NBC 5 will stay in its historical city of Fort Worth, however, something that was important to former Mayor Mike Moncrief when he worked on the project.
"It was very important to me that Fort Worth preserve and protect our heritage," he said. "Channel 5 has been apart of that heritage ever since Amon Carter planted the seeds. Look at the generations of being informed, but they do more than that, they approach the news not only in realistic and truthful manner -- they have a personal touch. When they're not on the air, these folks are out in the community, fundraising efforts to help less fortunate; that's been their banner."