With most, if not all, approvals, funding sources and other demands squared away, construction on the City Hall Artspace Lofts
in Dearborn can begin in the fall. Hopes are, when complete, a live-work-display-sell-perform campus will host an artists' community that has the potential to paint a rosy economic picture for the city -- if not the Metro Detroit region.
The project, which will renovate historic Dearborn City Hall into living spaces, workspaces, retail spaces, galleries and more, recently won a $500,000 grant from the Ford Foundation's Supporting Diverse Art Spaces initiative. City Hall operations will move down the street near other city offices in September or October, says Melissa Kania, of the East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority.
The East Dearborn DDA and the city of Dearborn are working with Minnesota-based Artspace
to renovate the old city offices into an arts campus that could be an economic stimulant for the city and the region and build on Metro Detroit's history of invention and innovation.
The plan calls for 46 affordable live/work spaces for artists and their families, work studios, co-working spaces for entrepreneurs and artists, a live/work unit for an artist-in-residency program, and galleries spread out on the city hall campus off Michigan Avenue.
In similar partnerships around the country, Artspace has developed 35 affordable artists' communities, and another 12 are in mid-development. The projects add up to about $600,000 in investment in local communities. The Dearborn development is estimated to cost $15.7 million.
Neumann/Smith Architecture and Ghafari Associates have drawn up design plans for Dearborn City Hall Artspace Lofts. They feature high ceilings, tall windows and open floor plans that play off the historic style of the building.
A public meeting to learn more about the Artspace Lofts is planned for Wednesday, June 18, in Dearborn City Council chambers.
Source: East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine