The four-story, 57,000-square-foot arts campus in Washington, D.C.'s Brookland neighborhood is a $13.1 million project that will include 41 affordable apartment units for artists. It will also house a dance and music rehearsal studio with gallery for Dance Place, a modern dance and arts education organization.
Arlington, Va.-based Bognet Construction (www.bognet.com) is the general contractor for the project, and the architect is D.C.-based Hickok Cole. The project is expected to be finished in July 2011.
National Endowment for the Arts chairman Rocco Landesman to attend April 30 ground breaking
"We are thrilled to be breaking ground on this exciting project," explains Heidi Kurtze, director of property development for the Minneapolis nonprofit group, who will be welcome guests including National Endowment for the Arts chairman Rocco Landesman.
"Artists are entrepreneurs, small businessmen, great place-makers and community builders," Landesman told the audience at the NEA Mayors' Institute in January. "Bring artists into the center of town and that town changes profoundly. We know now that people do not migrate to businesses. It is businesses that will move to where they can find a skilled, motivated, educated workforce. And what does that workforce look for? In survey after survey, the answer is education and culture."
Landesman said this week: "The Brookland Artspace Lofts create affordable housing for artists, along with much needed rehearsal space, space that serves the research and development function for our country's creative sector. This project will also help ensure that artists will always have a place at the center of D.C.'s Brookland neighborhood."
A New Era in Urban Development
"The time is right for projects like the Brookland Artspace Lofts to be built," says Kurtze, who notes that Artspace Projects, Inc. has been honored nationally for being the first nonprofit that the Ford Foundation is giving a grant to under a new program to develop arts spaces nationwide.
"Earlier this year, we were awarded $1 million of what will be a $100 million, decade-long initiative by the Ford Foundation," Kurtze shares. "Called the Supporting Diverse Art Spaces Initiative, it will be one of many to encourage construction of affordable housing for artists."
Another supporter of the Brookland Artspace Lofts project is the District's Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). It will provide $10.4 million in stimulus funding, including $1 million in low-income housing tax credits for the role Artspace is playing in revitalizing the Brookland neighborhood.
Where it all began
"At Artspace Projects, Inc., we know that these initiatives will not only help us build sustainable, economic generators -- they will change the lives of thousands of people who live, work, and come to enjoy the arts at centers like Dance Place and Artspace," says Kurtze. "April 30 is an important day because it marks the beginning of a new era in urban development."
In fact, discussions about the project began in 2006 when the leaders of Artspace worked with the D.C. Department of Housing and Development, then subsequently with D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty.
"The government had developed a policy that would direct D.C. agencies to work together to create and fund art projects that act as an effective tool for economic revitalization," explains Kurtze. "The Brookland Artspace Lofts are a result of that initiative."
Kurtze says the goal of the project is to create affordable units where artists and their families can live and work.
"Thirty-nine of the units will be available to households earning less than 60 percent of the area median income, and two units are set aside for Dance Place," Kurtze notes. "Artspace will support Dance Place in its effort to renovate its existing theater space, which is located next door at 3225 8th Street, N.E. We also plan to create an outdoor plaza and performance area between the two buildings."
Kurtze adds that working on the Brookland project has been a wonderful experience.
"The leadership and support this project has received from DHCD has been tremendous," she says. "They created the partnership between Artspace and Dance Place that has allowed us to create a stronger vision for this project."
Plus, she says, the team members we have assembled are just great to work with.
"The reason we picked Bognet Construction is because they are committed to helping the arts, and that's fairly unusual for a general contractor, and we really respect and appreciate that," Kurtze says.
Jim Bognet, president and co-founder of Bognet Construction, explains that the Brookland Artspace Lofts will feature open interiors, underground parking, performance areas, and wide hallways and large elevators so the artists can easily transport their artwork around the building.
"The building will also feature a mosaic tile installation that will be provided by community volunteers, and a 'green' roof that will be installed as a community service project," he says. "We are very excited to be breaking ground on April 30."
For details, contact Heidi Kurtze at email@example.com.
Artspace's mission is to create, foster and preserve affordable space for artists and arts organizations. This mission is pursued through development projects, asset management activities, consulting services and community-building activities that serve artists and arts organizations of all disciplines, cultures and economic circumstances. By creating this space, Artspace supports the continued professional growth of artists, and enhances the cultural and economic vitality of the surrounding community. For more information, go to www.artspace.org.
About the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development
The mission of the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is to create and preserve opportunities for affordable housing and economic development, and to revitalize underserved communities in the District of Columbia. DHCD's key objectives are to:
• Finance the production of quality affordable housing and homeownership opportunities at the project level and the household level
• Preserve quality affordable housing and homeownership opportunities
• Increase economic opportunities for low and moderate income residents
• Ensure fair and quality housing by administering rental-housing regulations.
For more information about DHCD and its programs, go to www.dhcd.dc.gov.
About Bognet Construction
Bognet Construction, founded in 1998 by Jim Bognet and Jeff Kaiser, is a $50 million company based in Arlington, Virginia. With its team of project managers, superintendents and support staff, the commercial builder completes tenant interiors and base building projects for some of the region's largest corporations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations including Freddie Mac, Chemonics International and General Dynamics. Most recently, Bognet Construction built the offices for Visa International and ManTech International, and has completed multiple projects for the General Services Administration and related federal agencies.
Bognet Construction is committed to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) projects, a standard for "green" building design. Most of the company's project managers have earned LEED accreditation. For more information visit www.bognet.com.
About Hickok Cole
Hickok Cole Architects Inc. is a 55-person, award-winning architecture, housing, interior design and master-planning firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. It is also one of the most successful architectural firms in the region, experiencing steady growth over a period of 20 years. Having designed more than 60 million square feet of corporate office buildings, multifamily housing and interiors in the two decades since its founding, the firm is committed to client satisfaction through great design, great management and a great place to work.
With more than 9 million square feet of LEED projects either in design or under construction, Hickok Cole Architects has a strong commitment to sustainable design principles. The firm is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and more than 75 percent of its professional staff is LEED certified. For more information, go to www.hickokcole.com.