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Thread: Questions about subsidized artist/affordable housing

  1. #1

    Questions about subsidized artist/affordable housing


    I am part of a grassroots campaign to save an old arcade complex here in Dayton, Ohio (I have linked to the website for the campaign at my profile, I think).

    For a brief visual description of the arcade complex click here and here

    As a contribution to this campaign, I am working on is researching different uses for the buildings, and examples of adaptive re-use in other citys. One of the things I want to explore as a possibility is the use of the upper floors of the arcade buildings for affordable housing for artists, to creat a small art colony of sorts in a portion of the complex.

    The complex was originally built with apartments on the upper floors of some of the buildings, so I was thinking this would be a possibilty.

    I am curious for some examples in other citys of adaptive reuse for artist live/work space, including some form of rent subsidy or rent control, and how the financing of this works, how the rents are subsidized or made affordable.

    One well-known example is the Westbeth building in New York City, which I will be researching further. I am curious if there are other, similar examples in other citys.

    Your alls help or advice would be greatly appreciated

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
    Mar 2005
    London, UK
    It may well be a completely different sort of arrangement to what you're thinking about, but one interesting re-use resulting in mixed-use development that included subsidized housing was in London's Coin Street. See info here.



    Best of luck with your efforts. The building looks very impressive.

    A further, possibly dumb/outdated point. I haven't live in the US/Midwest for nearly 20 years now, but when I was there I think that 80% of middle class people would be very much turned off by the "Artsy" pics of diaphanously wrapped maidens cavorting in an empty building. To the extent that there is any public support element to your efforts, you may want to make the website a bit more compliant with local sensibilities/Sharia law. (I may be completely talking out of my a## here, just a thought).

  3. #3
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
    May 2005
    New Town
    In Albuquerque, the Sawmill Community Land Trust recently developed affordable housing for artists on some blighted industrial land (that the city bought through its nuisance abatement program and sells back to the land trust at cost as they finance successive phases of development). This is new construction in the form of apartments with living space and raw work space. For now, it is a ll rental (a condition of funding) but after, I think, 7 years, artists can buy the units. Residents must be working artists that make a certain percentage of their annual income form their professional work and they also must learn some percentage of AMI (and I'm not sure what it is for these units - perhaps 80 percent?).

    You can link to the project here: http://www.sawmilllofts.org/

    This is not exactly what you are looking to do, I realize, but it may give you some useful information nonetheless.

    I actually work in an old 1925 2-story brick schoolhouse that has artist studios on the second floor, but it is just for working and not living.

    Pittsburgh also has an initiative to provide affordable housing for artists, but it is a bit different from what you are looking to do as well. They are encouraging artists to purchase buildings (often in rough shape) and in turn they offer low-interest loans and other strategies for improving them at a reasonable cost (and Pittsburgh has a large surplus of buildings on the cheap). Here is a link to their site: http://www.pennavenuearts.org/index.html

    This is exciting stuff. Let me know if you want any references regarding why offering these spaces as affordable housing for artists is a good idea.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  4. #4
    Mod Gedunker's avatar
    Aug 2003
    The Wonderland Way
    You may also want to check out what Paducah, KY has done with their artist relocation program. IIRC, there's been some controversy about gentrification with this project, but I can't recall specifics.


  5. #5
    Wow...thank you all for your advice. I really appreciate it!

    To Luca, sorry about that link. I didnt realize it could be offensive (it is to a professional photographers site, not my web page), but cant seem to figure out how to edit it out. But thanks for your English example, I will look into that as well as the others have posted.


  6. #6
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
    Mar 2005
    London, UK
    Quote Originally posted by Daytonpix View post
    To Luca, sorry about that link. I didnt realize it could be offensive (it is to a professional photographers site, not my web page), but cant seem to figure out how to edit it out.
    No worries and no apologies needed. It's not offensive to ME; I grew up in Italy.

    Again, best of luck and let us know how the project progresses.

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