Dearborn's City Hall Artspace Lofts heading into final stages of construction

Construction on Dearborn City Hall Artspace Lofts, a residential, retail and community gathering space for artists, their families, and lovers of the arts, is heating up now that winter has ended.

The residential portion of the project, 53 affordable live-work spaces for artists, is expected to be completed by January 2016, says Becky Carlson St. Clair, project manager and property developer for Minneapolis-based nonprofit, Artspace. Applications for residency will be accepted 90-120 days prior to completion.

The 20,000-square-foot commercial portion of the project is still in the investment phase and will take about five months to complete once funding is rounded up and tenants are found. The target opening is April or May 2016, Carlson St. Clair says.

The organizers are in talks with the ACCESS Growth Center, which would run an incubator space, and the East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority, which is interested in relocating to the space.

"We are also talking with many artists regarding studio space," Carlson St. Clair says.

City Hall Artspace Lofts will spread across a city block at Michigan Avenue and Schaefer Road where Dearborn City Hall once operated. The city complex filled the block with three buildings and landscaped grounds. City officials moved to a different building in another part of the city to save money and sold its more historic home, which was built in 1922.

Once complete, the Dearborn Artspace will feature work studios, co-working space for entrepreneurs and artists, and a live-work unit for an artist-in-residency program in addition to the incubator and residences. There will also be galleries, performance spaces, and community gathering areas inside and outside.

The $16.5-million project is seen as a way to improve the local -- if not regional -- economy by tapping into the arts and creative professionals. The mixed-use arts campus will "build upon Southeast Michigan's heritage as a center of innovation by creating a new anchor institution for the region's creative economy," says Artspace organizers.

The project is a partnership between Artspace, which has opened dozens of artist live-work communities around the country,  the city of Dearborn, and the East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority.

Source: Becky Carlson St. Clair, project manager/property development Artspace; and East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine
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