Artspace Projects to transform former Dearborn City Hall into creative hub April 1, 2015

Construction is under way to turn the former Dearborn City Hall into lofts and studios for artists, drawing residents to a creative hub meant to help rejuvenate the Michigan community’s eastern section. City Hall Artspace Lofts, which consists of three buildings, will house 53 live/work spaces for artists and their families, work studios, galleries, and more.

Twenty-six of the units in the mixed-use, mixed-income complex will be geared toward people at 50 percent of the area median income or lower. Six units will be handicapped accessible, and the project, expected to be complete in December, will achieve Enterprise Green Communities certification.

The $16.5 million project has multiple sources of funding, including equity from grants and tax credit investments. Later this year, AK Steel Corporation, which operates a steel plant in Dearborn, will contribute a $1.5 million grant. Artspace borrowed $1.5 million from IFF to bridge the grant money during construction. IFF also is providing an additional $550,000 of bridge funding for a portion of the project that will provide one artist-in-residence unit and gallery, work, and office space.

Artspace Projects has constructed affordable housing for artists in 18 states, but this will be its first project in Michigan. IFF also participated in financing Karcher Artspace Lofts, an Artspace development in Waukegan, IL.

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