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Brooklyn Army Terminal. Photo: Nicholas Lemery Nantel.

Construction Begins on New Affordable Artist Studios in New York

Within the Brooklyn Army Terminal, a former military supply base built nearly one hundred years ago and located along the waterfront in the Sunset Park neighborhood, the Brooklyn-based nonprofit ArtBuilt has begun construction on fifty thousand square feet of new workspaces for artists and artisans of all stripes. According to Victoria Stapley-Brown of the Art Newspaper, around fifty tenants are set to move into the new spaces by the end of 2017. Each tenant will be provided with an affordable, long-term lease. The initiative is a part of New York’s Affordable Real Estate for Artists (AREA) program, in collaboration with other stage agencies—such as the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Department of Cultural Affairs—to create reasonably priced workspaces for artists throughout the city over the next ten years. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in 2015 that he’d deliver “five hundred dedicated affordable work spaces for the cultural community,” as a gesture to keep the city’s arts professionals happy and, indeed, within the boundaries of New York.

Studios for the incoming tenants will range in size from 250 to four thousand square feet. The Brooklyn Army Terminal has three million square feet of usable space—the City of New York has invested about $115 million for its refurbishment. Chashama, another nonprofit organization, has already renovated sixty thousand square feet of space for artists on the property. Esther Robinson and Guy Buckles, the executive codirectors of ArtBuilt, said in a statement, “New York would be a poorer place without its small-scale producers. We’re helping these vital but vulnerable economic generators stay in NYC, not just to survive but to flourish, for the benefit of all New Yorkers.”

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