New York Works: NYCEDC and DCLA Announce 50,000 Square Feet of Artist Workspace at Brooklyn Army Terminal
ArtBuilt Brooklyn Will Bring New Subdivided Artist Studios
and Affordable Workspace to Sunset Park
New Space Marks Major Progress for Mayor de Blasio’s AREA Initiative,
Furthers Administration's Efforts to Create 10,000 Good Creative and Cultural Jobs
New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) today announced the creation of 50,000 square feet of artist studios and workspace for art-based businesses at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. ArtBuilt Brooklyn, a nonprofit arts organization, will bring subdivided, affordable artist workspace to Sunset Park as part of Mayor de Blasio’s Affordable Real Estate for Artists (AREA) initative, building on the Administration’s efforts to create 10,000 good jobs by supporting the city’s creative and cultural sectors.
ArtBuilt Brooklyn will support artists and art-based businesses, including fine artists, woodworkers, and theatrical set designer/builders, among others. The project will support up to fifty tenants with space and long-term leases. Renovation work is already underway, with an anticipated opening in late 2017.
With spaces ranging from 250 to 4,000 square feet, ArtBuilt Brooklyn meets the needs of a range of art-based businesses, from individual artists to small-scale production facilities. By providing tenants with access to long-term affordable workspace, the new space will give artists and organizations the platform they need to grow and succeed in New York City. ArtBuilt Brooklyn will complement a cluster of existing artist spaces at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, including Chashama, which currently operates 60,000 square feet of visual artist studios.
“The creative and cultural economy is synonymous with the identity of New York City. Investments in these industries are investments in our competitive advantage,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “By welcoming ArtBuilt to the Brooklyn Army Terminal, we’re not just creating much-needed affordable artist space; we’re creating good jobs across industries that have pushed New York City forward for decades.”
“New York’s creative community is an extraordinary source of energy and vitality for our city. But for artists to continue to thrive and produce work that connects with communities throughout the five boroughs, we need to keep New York a place where they can afford to live and work,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “ArtBuilt’s new space in the Brooklyn Army Terminal is a step toward addressing the need for affordable workspace, providing a dynamic new base of operations for dozens of artists and creative workers. Through collaborations that expand the supply of affordable workspace, this Administration is committed to ensuring that working artists continue to call our neighborhoods home for generations to come.”
“This is an era of sharpened pressures and shrinking resources for artists, arts-based businesses, and small-scale manufacturers more generally. We are excited to partner with NYCEDC and DCLA to create a new support model for this important but often overlooked economic sector,” said ArtBuilt Co-Executive Directors Guy Buckles and Esther Robinson. “Businesses that need small-footprint industrial space—from a few hundred to a couple of thousand square feet—just can’t get a toehold in NYC’s overheated estate market. By aggregating these small producers, we give them the leverage they need to compete with the bigger players. 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.”
“I join DCLA Commissioner Finkelpearl and NYCEDC President Patchett in welcoming ArtBuilt to the Brooklyn Army Terminal,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “My administration has been vocal in support of developing affordable artist workspaces across the borough, in addition to the creation and preservation of vitally-needed affordable housing. Starting one’s own business and making a living in the art world, whether in painting or woodworking, can be very difficult when considering the costs of renting out a physical location and attracting potential customers. This space will provide artists with a helping hand upwards.”
“Affordable studio space in Sunset Park is good news for artists. The new 50,000 square feet of space at Brooklyn Army Terminal will extend a citywide initiative to help artists and small firms struggling with high rents and displacement. Artists and art-centered companies are a vital part of the City’s economy and the lifeblood of our creative culture. I celebrate the selection of the local non-profit, ArtBuilt Brooklyn, to manage the site, and that some studios will be as small as 250 square feet. City-owned properties should dedicate a portion of their space to artists whenever practical, and I support finding more opportunities for low-cost, reliable studio space in Sunset Park,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca.
"I welcome ArtBuilt as the newest artist studio and workspace at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. This new tenant will help support individuals and small businesses including fine artists, woodworkers, theatrical set designer/builders, and others. New businesses in the Sunset Park community should result in spending and activity with community residents. With new tenants, we should also look to better transportation and services to help get people to and from the Terminal,” said Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz.
As outlined in Mayor de Blasio’s New York Works plan, ArtBuilt Brooklyn is part of the Administration’s efforts to create 10,000 good jobs over the next ten years through the preservation of cultural assets and investments in the creative economy. These efforts also include the creation of a Made in NY campus for fashion, film, and television at Bush Terminal.
New York City has a pressing need for affordable workspace for artists and art-based businesses. Even before the start of construction, ArtBuilt Brooklyn has seen a swell of interest from local artists, an indication of the pressing need for affordable creative and artist workspace in New York City, where suitable spaces for this type of tenant are increasingly difficult to find.
In 2015, the nonprofit arts organization ArtBuilt conceived ArtBuilt Brooklyn in response to a wave of studio evictions in Gowanus, Brooklyn, which displaced hundreds of artists and creative organizations. ArtBuilt partnered with a group of displaced artists to search for new space that could offer both affordability and the stability of a long-term lease. NYCEDC offered ArtBuilt both affordable industrial space and long-term leases at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. ArtBuilt Brooklyn will help the City achieve its goal under the AREA initiative to provide 500 affordable workspaces for artists over the next decade.
The de Blasio Administration has invested over $115 million to further position the Brooklyn Army Terminal as a hub for manufacturing and emerging industries in New York City. Last month, NYCEDC welcomed the first three tenants of the Brooklyn Army Terminal’s food manufacturing hub. Earlier this year, NYCEDC announced the first advanced manufacturing tenant to operate out of the Brooklyn Army Terminal, Lowercase, which utilizes 3D printing and CNC machining to bring eyewear production back to the United States. With over 3 million square feet of leasable space, the Brooklyn Army Terminal is home to over 3,700 jobs and 100 companies.
New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.
ArtBuilt is a Brooklyn-based non-profit that supports the creative sector in NYC and nationally through three programming initiatives: ArtBuilt Brooklyn provides long-term, affordable workspace for artists and arts-based businesses; ArtHome provides asset-building strategies and financial literacy training for individual artists and creative business-people; and ArtBuilt Mobile Studios deliver needed programs and services to under-served communities by providing innovative mobile workspaces to artists, social-service providers, and micro-businesses. Current ArtBuilt Mobile Studios programming includes community-engaged on-site artist residencies and public events in city parks and street plazas across NYC and beyond, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, NYC’s City Council, NYC Parks, NYC DOT, and others.
About Affordable Real Estate for Artists (AREA)
To ensure that artists continue to thrive and work in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in the 2015 State of the City Address a commitment to creating affordable housing and artist workspaces for the cultural community over a period of ten years. An inter-agency task force, including the Mayor’s Office, DCLA, Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and NYCEDC has begun to implement strategies for the equitable development of housing and workspace for artists. This initiative, known as AREA, will work with residents, real estate developers, cultural partners, housing agencies, and the philanthropic community to implement these goals. DCLA, in partnership with NYCEDC and the Mayor’s Office, leads the workspace component of the AREA initiative. The goal is to ensure the creation of long-term affordable workspaces across the city that are accessible to artists of all backgrounds and are beneficial for neighborhood needs and development.