Brookland Artspace Lofts, affordable live-work artist apartments with ground-floor gallery space at 3305-3313 8th Street, NE, will host an open house tonight offering West African dance performances, appetizers, salsa lessons and loft tours, starting at 6pm.
The Lofts, developed by Artspace, are Phase 1 of a mixed-use arts campus project that includes the renovation of Dance Place, located next door at 3225 8th Street. The overhaul of the dance center will comprise Phase 2 and is now in the planning stage. Heidi Kurtze, Director of Property Development for Artspace, said Dance Place is working on its Capital Campaign, assisted by Artspace, and hopes to have Phase 2 underway by the end of 2012, or early 2013.
The $13.2-million artist loft portion of the project was funded in part by the Department of Housing and Community Development, which provided $10.4 million in stimulus funding and $1 million in low-income housing tax credits; the project also received a Dept. of Housing and Urban Development Neighborhood Initiative Grant.
The 4-story, 57,000-s.f. building, designed by Hickok Cole and built by Bognet Construction, devotes 48,900 s.f. to residential space and 8,100 s.f. to shared, community use on the ground floor. There are 23 parking spaces below grade, and 41 live-work studios, with 39 of them for individuals (artists) making less than 60 percent of the area median income.
Although the initial Artspace plan was to set aside half of the 39 units for individuals making less than 50 percent of the area median income, a modification to the project was made in March of 2010, because the project would not be economically feasible "with half of the units made affordable at such deep levels of affordability."
The Zoning Commission report stated, "The applicant’s letter demonstrated to the Commission’s satisfaction that the project would not be financially feasible if all 41 units were affordable and if any of the 39 affordable units were reserved for households earning less than 51 percent of AMI." In conclusion, two of the 41 units can be rented out at market rate if necessary, but both are currently set aside for use by Dance Place.
Brookland Studios was formerly on the property, and was razed to make way for the new loft building, which broke ground in April of 2010 and delivered this summer, at the end of June.
In making the interior artist friendly, the transportation of large art materials and/or finished pieces was taken into consideration, and so the building features wide hallways, hospital-sized elevators, and lofts with open floor plans, ranging in size from studios to two-bedroom units.
A green roof was installed by the non-profit DC Greenworks, under the direction of project manager Andrew Benenati, and on one exterior wall of the building is a mosaic of tiles, installed by community volunteers.
The lofts are 100-percent occupied, Kurtze verified, and residents represent a variety of art mediums, with the breakdown approximately, "One-third performance artists, one-third visual artists, and one-third other, including film makers, set designers, poets [etc.]."
Creativity might flourish from the mingling of varying talents: "Residents are already getting together for Sunday night dinners," said Kurtze. Over 100 applications came in from artistic hopefuls looking to rent a loft, however not all met the Artspace requirements. Those who did went before a selection committee, and none who made it this far were turned away.
Washington D.C. real estate development news