Friday, January 22, 2010

Brookland Gets its Art On


One of the first new developments in the Brookland Community to actually break soil may be close at hand, as the Dance Place and Artspace forge ahead with plans to create a $13 million arts campus. The trickling begins as developer Artspace seeks subcontractors, with bids due February 5th and the first phase of construction scheduled to begin in March. The site is currently occupied by the Brookland Studios and an existing Dance Place building on 8th Street, just three blocks from the Brookland Metro Station. First on the boards: a 41-unit artist live-work building, with a new or renovated dance studio for phase 2.

Artppace's affordable live/work units will house struggling artists and their families, providing them with gallery and studio space. Half of the units will be available to households earning less than 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI), with the other half set aside for households earning less than 50% AMI. The four-story building will rise no higher than 48 feet in the low-density neighborhood. A unique twist - residences will feature open interiors, wider hallways and hospital-sized elevators, allowing for the transport of large art materials or finished pieces of art. The southwest corner of the ground floor will naturally be available as a performance space that opens to the plaza, connecting to the new Dance Place once the latter is complete. The 57,000 s.f. project will provide 22 parking spaces below grade and should complete by the Summer of 2011. The building will have a green roof and Artspace will be partnering with DC Greenworks for the installation.

For phase 2, Heidi Kurtze, Director of Property Development at Artspace, says the team will spend much of 2010 "researching" and raising funds before deciding on the design for the dance studio. Preliminary plans submitted to the Office of Planning called for a new two-story theater and two-story storage space on the ground floor of a (possibly) four-story building with classrooms, changing room and office space on the top floors. Though Kurtze said without enough capital the team might have to renovate the current building, rather than the preferred option of a new structure.

Artspace has been working with Dance Place since 2007. Kurtze described the relationship as a "true collaboration with a local arts organization that is already thriving in the community."

The development team selected Bognet Construction Associates as the general contractor, designs for the residential building are by Hickok Cole Architects.

The new plans come at at time when other large-scale developments in the area are still crawling through the planning or pre-construction periods. Project's like EYA's Chancellor's Row and Abdo's project with CUA are still a long way from realizing the promised renaissance in Brookland.

Update: The District Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is a partner in the Artspace project. DHCD will provide $10.4 million in stimulus funding and $1 million in low-income housing tax credits to the Artspace residential project in recognition of the role of the arts in revitalizing neighborhood, according to DHCD spokesperson Angelita Colon-Francia.

1 comments:

IMGoph on Jan 26, 2010, 4:16:00 PM said...

hopefully this is built with an easement for the metropolitan branch trail in mind. i've read that they were not amenable to such a set-back, which would be a shame.

and who's to say the artists are "struggling." it's damn pricey in this burg. maybe we just need to make sure that there is housing you can afford on a less-than-six-figure salary.

 

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