When the scaffolding and tarps came down last month at 220 High St., they unveiled a carefully restored historic building that by summer, will be called home by many artists and bring three new businesses to downtown Hamilton.
Several prospective renters and Hamilton residents were able to check out a sneak peek of the Artspace Hamilton Lofts last week and now that the walls are up and many of the amenities like stoves and microwaves are being installed, it’s easier than ever to imagine how the empty rooms will soon be filled with paintbrushes, musical instruments, clothing swatches, and more.
While there is still a good amount of work to be done, especially in terms of electric and wireless installation, Project Manager Sarah Swingley said that the nonprofit is shooting for a May 1 opening date. Artspace Asset Manager Kimberly Moore said that the 42 live/work units are about 50 percent leased, with many individuals still going through the application process.
Several confirmed tenants got to check out their future homes during the tour. Donna Marie was selling her house in Monroe and planned to move to the southwest of the country, and said that when the realtor agent was looking over her array of art around the house, he recommended she look into the Artspace building in Hamilton.
“So I checked into it and went to the first meeting and was like, wow, this is an answer to my prayers,” she said. “And I’ve always been a homeowner, so for me to rent is something completely different, but the community of artists, that’s what I need.”
She said that she wants a place where she has the space and creative atmosphere to focus on multiple artistic projects; right now, she’s writing a novel, but she’s crafted beaded scarves and created wall art.
A Michigan native who lived in California before settling in Ohio, she said she would have never thought to move to Hamilton if Artspace weren’t opening there.
“I really didn’t realize there was so much art and creativity in Hamilton, and I really think this is going to bring a lot of creative people to the area and boost the area,” she said.
Kirsten Puska, a Hamilton resident and painter/illustrator, is looking forward to moving into her one-bedroom apartment.
“At home, I just have my bedroom and all of my stuff just disheveled everywhere, so it will be nice to have some space,” she said.
She said she was looking forward to having an artistic community to work with.
“It would be nice to do a collaboration with other artists,” she said.
Once tenants are moved in, the first floor retail spaces will become home to the Almond Sisters Bakery, Renaissance Fine Art Supplies, and custom furniture/screen printing company Unsung Salvage Design Co. The first floor will also boast gallery space where residents will be able to display their craft, put on shows, and host other events.
The $11.7 million project at 220-222 High St. will contain 42 live/work units — 11 studios, 25 one-bedroom units, three two-bedroom units, and 3 three-bedroom units — as well as 3000-plus square feet of retail space and 1,800-plus square feet of community space for artists in downtown Hamilton.
Minneapolis-based nonprofit developer Artspace purchased the property for more than $500,000, after using a number of criteria — including a feasibility study, a market survey, and needs analysis — to establish that Hamilton would be a good fit.
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