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Channel 2 Breaks Ground on New Midtown Building

July 11, 2013|By Chris Klint | Channel 2 News

ANCHORAGE, Alaska —

Channel 2 held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday for its new facility in Anchorage, as employees and guests came together to mark the beginning of work on the 40,000-square-foot building.

The event, held under a sunny sky near the intersection of 40th Avenue and Denali Street, heralds the transition of the Northern Lights Media Center from planning into reality. The $22 million building will be one-third larger than the space the station currently occupies, about a block and a half south of the new location at 701 E. Tudor Rd.

State Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage) began Friday's proceedings with the presentation of a proclamation from the 20th Alaska Legislature honoring Channel 2 on its 60th anniversary.

"In many ways Channel 2's story parallels Alaska's story: big ambitions, humble beginnings, and the audacity to do something remarkable and distinctive," Tuck said, reading from the proclamation.

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Andy MacLeod, KTUU-TV's president and general manager, said the structure will offer more capabilities to the station's employees as well as the audience they serve.

"It will give the people who make Channel 2 -- whose passion and commitment and work make Channel 2 -- a better environment to work in and a better product," MacLeod said. "And at the end of the day we will be able to put out more content on more platforms to more Alaskans, and we're very excited about that."

The actual groundbreaking featured several groups of people, including station management, members of the news team and the engineering staff, ceremonially turning piles of dirt with golden shovels.

In a Thursday statement, MacLeod touted the groundbreaking as a breakthrough for both the station -- celebrating its 60th anniversary this year -- and its mission to tell Alaska’s story.

“It’s really a historic moment for Channel 2,” MacLeod said. “This facility will be the first in our 60-year history that is built specifically for what we do as a media company. It will be a great platform for our talented employees, who deserve a top notch work environment that matches their unparalleled abilities. The facility will be a springboard for our future as we look to modernize our workflows and develop top quality content across all media platforms.”

According to MacLeod, the building will be ready for new media as they emerge, a trait symbolized by its proximity to fiber-optic hubs that serve the entire state.

“We Alaskans are quite good at adapting to change,” MacLeod said. “As a media company we have to stay on the front edge of what today’s media consumers and today’s clients want. We want to build a facility and a culture that embraces and harnesses change, rather than reacts to it.”

Construction of the building will be undertaken by Neeser Construction Inc., a collaborator on the project’s design and logistics since August. Anchorage-based Spark Design LLC has been named as Neeser’s lead designer for the project, and Texas-based Beck Associates will partner with KTUU-TV on integration management and technical design.

Media competition in Alaska has been ramping up during the new building’s planning and design, with General Communication Inc.’s plans announced last year to purchase Anchorage CBS affiliate KTVA-TV and two Southeast Alaska NBC affiliates.

A coalition of Alaska broadcasters, including KTUU-TV, subsequently filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission to block the purchase, characterizing it as potentially monopolistic, prompting a response from GCI that the move would increase media competition in the state.

Plans are in the works for a larger ribbon-cutting ceremony once the building has been completed in summer 2014.

Contact Chris Klint

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