2014 - 2015 ARTSPACE STUDY RESULTS
ARTSPACE RECEIVES INITIAL FUNDING TO ADVANCE PREDEVELOPMENT ON AFFORDABLE LIVE/WORK PROJECT FOR CREATIVE SECTOR IN DENVER
ArtSpace - the nation’s leading developer of arts facilities – received critical funding which will advance predevelopment work on an affordable live/work and mixed-use building for creatives in the River North (RiNo) neighborhood at the north end of Brighton Boulevard.
Commissioned by Denver Arts & Venues, and with support from the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative, JP Morgan Chase, and the Denver Foundation, Artspace spent a year conducting a feasibility study on the need for affordable space for the creative sector in Denver.
The study surveyed more than 1,000 individuals who identified a growing need for affordable work and/or living space in Denver. Those individuals specifically pinpointed the RiNo neighborhoods as an area that needs improvement.
Artspace is advancing a site at approximately 41st Street and Brighton Boulevard through a signed Exclusive Negotiating Rights Agreement with site owner, Westfield Company, Inc., and funding from Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Denver Arts & Venues, Denver Foundation and the newly-formed RiNo Business Improvement District.
“We recognize that for Denver to continue to thrive as a great arts city, it must be able to offer affordable space for artists of all kinds to live and work in the City,” said Gary Steuer, President and CEO of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation.
Over the next year, Artspace will continue outreach efforts to the creative sector as well as Denver neighborhoods, to advance the plans for an affordable, mixed-use arts complex on the Westfield-owned site. Westfield Company, which has a history of creating cutting-edge concept environments along the Front Range, is in the planning stages for its entire 14-acre site and is excited to have Artspace become one of the many synergistic elements that will contribute to a vibrant new epicenter of activity on Brighton Boulevard.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity for Denver to create and preserve long-term affordability for the City’s vast creative sector, including musicians, visual artists, performing artists and diverse mixed media creative people,” said Senior Vice President for Artspace Consulting and Strategic Partnerships, Wendy Holmes. “This project will include up to 80 units of space to support creatives businesses, and in which artists and their families can live and work. There will also be a significant number of below-market-rate non-residential space for creative businesses, artist and musician studios, and non-profit organizations, as well as a flexible community. We anticipate this project will open in 2020 with construction starting in 2019.”
“The Artspace project epitomizes the goals of the city’s cultural plan, IMAGINE 2020, and shows our commitment to supporting Denver’s local creative talent.” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “The arts and creative industries play a critical role in our city and contribute greatly to Denver’s economic vitality.”
The City and County of Denver is committed to the preservation, rehabilitation and creation of affordable housing. Currently, there are more than 1,000 affordable units under construction in Denver that have received funding through the city’s Office of Economic Development. In addition, the city is working toward the creation of a new local funding source to provide at least $150 million over the first 10 years to support housing affordability.
“It’s a pivotal time to advocate for and create sustainable opportunities to preserve and develop affordable spaces for Denver’s creative sector,” said Lisa Gedgaudas with Denver Arts & Venues. “We continue to engage with artists and creative businesses, and are excited for the momentum and leverage this project can bring to artists in the city.”
Artspace has been active in Colorado with The Artspace Loveland Lofts (opened June 2015), a mixed-use affordable project underway in Lakewood, and as a lead partner in the newly launched Space to Create, Colorado, a $50 million, state-led initiative to develop affordable arts projects in rural Colorado communities.