East Harlem‘s long abandoned Public School 109 will soon be a towering development of affordable artist housing called El Barrio Artspace. The gorgeous Gothic building was shuttered 15 years go and has since fallen into extreme disrepair. Artists and their families will be able to apply to live in the space on 99th Street between Third and Second Avenues, which will also have ample space for exhibitions and arts groups.
Built in 1898, the grand building is capped with high Gothic peaks and forms a natural courtyard at its center. Originally designed by Charles Snyder, the adaptive reuse of this National Register-listed building is slated for HHL Architects, in collaboration with Victor Morales Architects. Around 90 affordable live/work units will be created in the five story structure, with estimated rents ranging from $550 to $1,100 a month.
Aside from providing low income housing so that artists may focus on their work rather than expensive rent, El Barrio Artspace will provide a creative community outlet for the Latino community. The ground floor can function as a community arts center, with additional arts and culture organizations having a presence there. Around 10,000 square feet can be used for community space, as well as the natural courtyard garden.
Artspace Projects has already developed adaptive reuse buildings for artists in other cities, with successful live/work and commercial spaces in towns across the United States. ArtSpace received a tax credit allocation in October 2011 that will generate approximately $24 Million in equity funding to the 10-year project, which is estimated at a total of $53 million.
“With this essential funding in place,” wrote ArtPlace on October 23, 2011, “we hope to complete our financial closing by year-end and begin construction this winter. While there will be many tangible benefits to emerge from this project, one of the most immediate will be the creation of nearly 500 jobs during our two-year construction phase.”