SAN FRANCISCO
01/21/2013 01:38 pm ET | Updated Jan 22, 2013

SFJAZZ Center Opens In San Francisco (PHOTOS)

The SFJAZZ Center is ready for its big debut.

The newly constructed building--the first stand-alone jazz center in the nation--officially opened its doors in Hayes Valley on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Festivities included a ribbon cutting, public tours and an information session to introduce San Franciscans to the building and its mission.

Though the center was initially slated to open last October, celebrating on Dr. Martin Luther King Day fits the essence of SFJAZZ.

"Dr. King tried to each everybody that we're all equal," SFJAZZ publicist Marshall Lamm told The Huffington Post. "This is a democracy and everybody has a voice and everybody has a vote. Jazz represents freedom and it truly represents America."

Bill Cosby will act as the master of ceremonies for SFJAZZ Center's first concert on January 23. The night will feature jazz legends like McCoy Tyner and Chick Corea. For those who have not secured a ticket to the festivities, NPR will stream the concert.

The new center is a product of $64 million and over two years of construction. The 35,000-foot space is equipped with a 700-seat auditorium, digital lab and education center. Chef Charles Phan will run a cafe serving New Orleans-inspired cuisine.

The building also includes a rehearsal room with glass walls, inviting passersbys to to view performances from the sidewalk.

"What we're trying to do is lower any sort of intimidation people have of jazz and raise the accessibility people can now have to jazz and all of its styles," Lamm said.

Check out photos of the new space below:

SFJAZZ Center's Grand Opening

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