Artspace holds information sessions for city hall lofts project

Photo by Zeinab Najm. Becky Carlson St. Clair, project manager for Artspace Property Development, discusses details on the City Hall Lofts project to artists during an information session at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center July 21.

Photo by Zeinab Najm. Becky Carlson St. Clair, project manager for Artspace Property Development, discusses details on the City Hall Lofts project to artists during an information session at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center July 21.

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Creative business owners, organization leaders and residential prospects filled two Artspace information sessions July 21 to learn more about the City Hall Lofts project.

During the commercial and residential information sessions, Becky Carlson St. Clair, project manager for Artspace Property Development, explained the requirements, steps and details of being involved in the project.

Both sessions were hosted by the Artspace development team, the East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority and the city of Dearborn.

The first session focused on organizations and creative businesses interested in leasing commercial inside the 20,000-square-foot creative concourse building that connects the two residential buildings.

The concourse building will include the art galleries, a community meeting and classroom space, office space, individual co-working studios and a business incubator for ACCESS Growth Center.

Artists interested in leasing space to work, sell and create will have a choice between a shared studio, private studio and office space in the concourse building.

Leasing space in the concourse building does not require an artist to live in the residential building and will be open to every artist that is interested.

The estimated price for a 125- to 200-square-foot shared studio and 350 to 400-square-foot private studio are $100 to $300 a month and $400 to $525 a month, respectively.

The 250- to 1,500-square-foot office and 670-square-foot shared classroom prices are to be decided.
Shared studio, private studio and office space will be leased out to artists through a three-year leasing agreement.

There will also be an artist-in-residence unit for the Arab American National Museum to host visitors from out of town and a new entrance built for the concourse building.

Basic set up and finishes will be provided by Artspace for business spaces allowing tenants to finish their space with their own designs.

Designs will have to be approved by Artspace and must be completed by a licenses contractor.

Applicants interested in business space inside the concourse building will need a business plan, budget, funding sources, design and floor plan, lease commitment, insurance, license or permit and additional resources to apply.

A timeline for completion of the commercial, concourse building is still in progress until final funding has been secured.

During the information session held at Bryant Library, St. Clair encouraged artists in attendance to ask questions and voice their needs and concerns.

“This is one of many more informational sessions that will be held so we can learn your needs and wants,” she said. “We want this project to be a reflection and design of the artists who will be living and leasing spaces.”

The second session of the day held at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center featured artists who were interested in leasing lofts inside the former City Hall building and West Annex.

Those buildings will include the 53 residential units, a community room, an outdoor patio and corridor art galleries.

“The move-in date for residents will be in January of next year after construction is completed in December of this year,” St. Clair said.

Prospective residents will be required to complete a full application packet, criminal background check and participate in a pre-screening interview with the artist selection committee.

An application checklist will be posted at artspace.org by the end of the month to allow interested residents enough time to prepare for the when the application is posted online.

Artists interested in leasing must be 18 years and older and are allowed only two pets inside each loft.

“We will begin the residential application process in October with tours of the buildings in September,” St. Clair said. “It will be a first come, first serve basis.”

Spaces inside the residential buildings will include studios, one bedroom, two bedrooms and three bedrooms with an estimated price range of $307 to $975.

Residential spaces will be leased to artists through one-year leasing agreements.

During the information session artists in attendance inquired about storage lockers for their art, 24-hour access to the concourse building and a membership fee or monthly fee for the shared classroom space.

“The feedback from artists is exactly what we need to tailor the project to them,” St. Clair said. “It gives us the information we need to adjust our plans straight from the source.”

Additional information sessions and project updates will be scheduled and posted at artspace.org/Dearborn in the coming months with dates, times and locations.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)

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