In 2004, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts awarded Artspace the first in a series of grants to help identify a site for an affordable live/work housing project in New York City. After a two-year search that took Artspace through all five boroughs, former Public School 109 in East Harlem was selected.
PS109 is an amazing building. Designed by Charles B.J. Snyder and completed in 1898, this structure is five stories tall with a steeply pitched roof. Exterior details include several copper-clad cupolas and a wealth of decorative terra cotta. After the building was boarded up in 1995, much of the terra cotta was removed; it will be restored as part of the project, which is a partnership between Artspace and El Barrio’s Operation Fightback, an East Harlem-based nonprofit community development organization.
PS109 will contain 90 units of affordable live/work housing for artists and their families and 10,000 square feet of non-residential space for arts and cultural organizations on the ground floor and lower level. It will serve the El Barrio community by creating permanently affordable housing in a neighborhood at risk of gentrification. To help the area retain its traditional Latino identity, Artspace will reserve at least 50% of the units for current El Barrio residents.
Hamilton Houston Lownie ArchitectsVictor Morales Architects
El Barrio's Operation Fightback
Q: What is El Barrio's Artspace PS109?
A: PS109 will contain 90 units of affordable live/work housing for artists and their families, and 10,000 square feet of non- residential space for arts and cultural organizations on the ground floor and lower level. It will serve the El Barrio community by creating permanently affordable housing in a neighborhood at risk of gentrification. To help the area retain its traditional Latino identity, Artspace will reserve at least 50% of the units for current El Barrio residents.
Q: What is the definition of a “live/work” project?
A: A live/work project is a residential building in which each dwelling has extra space (100 to 150 square feet) that the artist can use as a studio. Live/work units by Artspace have consistent design elements, such as high ceilings, large windows, durable surfaces and wide doorways. These spaces are designed to accommodate and foster a variety of creative processes. Artspace live/work projects also include common spaces such as galleries, meeting rooms and green space that encourage tenant engagement, cooperation and community involvement. Most Artspace live/work projects are mixed-use buildings with housing on the upper floors and non-residential space on the lower floors.
Q: How much does it cost to live in an Artspace project?
A: In setting our rents, we adhere to affordable housing guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD uses a formula based on the local area median income (AMI), the degree of affordability of any given unit (expressed as a percentage of the AMI), the number of bedrooms in the unit, and the number of people in the household. While rents vary by community, our goal is to provide affordable space that is adequate for artists both to live and to work in their units. Artspace buildings provide live/work spaces that are larger than other affordable spaces and usually less expensive than other comparable spaces. And as part of our sustainability model, Artspace buildings remain affordable in perpetuity.
Q: What are the income qualifications for this project?
A: The income qualifications can be found on HPD’s website. http://goo.gl/mD9aN
Q: Are these the guidelines for all projects every year?
A: No. The guidelines are set by HPD and change every year.
Q: Are there housing preferences to live at PS109?
A: Yes. The first applications processed must be those that meet one of the approved housing preferences:
> Non-residents of New York City can only be considered after all eligible, current New York City residents have been processed.
> Community preference: To help the area retain its traditional Latino identity, Artspace will reserve at least 50% of the units for current El Barrio residents.
> Disability preference > Municipal employee preference > Artist preference
Q: Do you have to be an artist to live in an Artspace live/work project?
A: Anyone who qualifies for affordable housing may apply for residency in an Artspace project, but we give preference to those applicants who participate in and are committed to the arts. Applicants need not derive their income from their art.
Q: How does Artspace determine who is an artist?
Q: Is there an application fee? A: There is not an application fee, but there is a credit check fee of $45.
Q: When will the next information session be?
A: Please sign up for the property updates to receive further information once we announce the session. www.artspace.org/PS109
Q: How does Artspace determine who is an artist?
A: We define the term “artist” broadly to encompass a wide variety of creative pursuits, including traditional art forms and those as diverse as clothing design, weaving and even canoe making. A community-based Selection Committee interviews all applicants. The committee looks for evidence that applicants are seriously committed to their art and that they will be mindful and positive contributors to the building and community. The application and qualification process does not include judgment of quality of work.
Q: Can I have roommates? A: An applicant can apply with a roommate ONLY if they were roommates in the past.
Q: Can I be a full time student and head of household?
A: No. A full time student cannot be the head of household. Low-income units in the tax credit program are not to be occupied exclusively by students. For Low-Income housing tax credits, the IRS defines a “student” as a full-time student during five (5) calendar months of the calendar year at an educational institution, other than a correspondence school, with regular faculty and students.
Q: How big are the units?
A: The studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom units range in average from approximately 480 square feet to approximately 980 square feet.
Q: Will there be community space available?
A: Yes. There is gallery/exhibition space available for residents. Q: Is there commercial space for rent?
A: There is space available for rent for non-profits and community organizations. There are two offices dedicated for non-profit organizations as well as flexible use space for community, arts and non-profit organization.
Q: When can I apply and when can I move in?
A: The applications will be available Spring 2014. Qualified applicants selected out of the lottery can move in Fall 2014.
Until Spring of 2014, we are unable to answer specific questions about prospective applicant's income. We can, however, refer you to the HPD's website for more information about the program. To find out more information, visit online at HPD's website. Answers pertaining to income qualification questions can be located here.
Information sessions will be held each month in 2014, times and locations will be announced on the PS109 Facebook page and our PS109 newsletter. Sign up for the newsletter here to receive that information. ASL interpretation will be available at many of the upcoming sessions.
To receive information about this property in the future please sign up for Property Updates.
Artspace | 250 Third Avenue North, Suite 400 | Minneapolis, MN 55401 | 612.333.9012 ©2014 Artspace Projects, Inc.