Artspace Lofts filled to capacity

The Artspace Hamilton Lofts have a new management company and have filled all 42 living units.

The development was designated a key piece of the city’s plan for downtown revitalization, as the more than $11 million project at 222 High St. provided downtown living options to build on the city’s art scene.

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“Right now we have all 42 units rented and a waiting list of people who want to live there,” said Erika Dani, who works for the Artspace parent company based in Minneapolis.

“ Things started out slow with some construction issues slowing us down and it was slow getting people to fill up the vacancies,” she said, adding that a new management company is now running the Hamilton building.

Brandy Singleton, 36, moved into Artspace last year.

Singleton calls her family, “creatives,” and feels that the Artspace project was a worthwhile investment for the city.

“We’ve had our share of difficulties, but now that the changes have been made, and our new management company is settling in, it’s looking up on the organizational side of things,” she said. “… I believe with so much going on in downtown Hamilton, and the positive changes in our building, it has been well worth it to have stayed through the difficult beginning.”

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Jay Kidd, 26, and his fiancee Kristy Iwema, 29, have lived in the lofts since last April. Kidd runs a business, Wraith Games, out of the Hamilton Mill, a block away from the Artspace lofts.

“I absolutely find it worthwhile living here,” he said. “Besides the fact that rent and utilities are really cheap, having access to use the gallery, all of the awesome classes, workshops, and other events we put on, the ability to have neighbors who understand what I’m about, the freedom to do crazy stuff to my unit like paint murals, installations, and the like,” he said. “Also, having a building-wide ‘government’ of sorts where we decide how the place is run - within reason - is really cool.”

Stephanie Melton, besides being a baker at the Almond Sisters Bakery, is also a seamstress. She has been in the lofts for nearly two years. She said the artist community has worked together to make it “clean, safe space where we all support each other.”

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“The morale here is wonderful and when things come up that need taken take care of, we are working together to get things done,” she said.

Alexis Schultz, 26, has lived in the lofts since last December.

Schultz, who recently completed an art piece for IceFest, said that she had initial concerns that non-artists were getting space in the lofts.

“… with some of the spaces being as low as $270, people hurried to grab them without really being artists, and of course they aren’t in a hurry to move because you can’t get rent cheaper than that, especially with apartments as nice as these,” Schultz said. “I believe that this hurts the art community. I feel like there should be more pressure to produce art while you’re here and not just say you created art once to be able to move in.”

Councilman Tim Naab said the units are designated for artists only, and a committee is in place to review applications to live in the lofts.

“Artspace is rocking and very successful both for the tenants, the arts community and our city,” Naab said. “It is filled with very diverse residents and a great talent pool.”

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