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Opened
1990

Northern Warehouse Artists’ Cooperative

A Model of Sustainability

308 Prince Street, St. Paul, MN, 55101

Artist Studio

Black Dog Cafe

A to Z Gallery

Artist Studio

Artist Studio

Exterior

Artist Studio

Artist Studio

Tabs

Overview

In the late 1980s, the City of Saint Paul invited Artspace to redevelop a six-story warehouse built in 1908 by the Northern Pacific Railway. The result was the Northern Warehouse Artists’ Cooperative, which opened in 1990 and served as a catalyst for the economic and cultural growth of downtown Saint Paul’s struggling Lowertown neighborhood. The Northern was not only Artspace’s first project, it was also the first in the nation to use Low Income Housing Tax Credits for artist housing.

The Northern offers 52 affordable live/work units (some of them as large as 2,000 square feet) for artists and their families on its upper four floors. The lower two floors provide office, studio and commercial space for nonprofit arts organizations, commercial artists and other tenants, including a coffeehouse and an art gallery.

The Northern and the neighboring Tilsner Artists’ Cooperative, completed by Artspace in 1993, ignited a spectacular renaissance in Lowertown, now Saint Paul’s hottest neighborhood for galleries, restaurants and cultural activity. Just across the street, the Saint Paul Farmer’s Market enlivens weekend mornings, and a new light rail station stands just two blocks away.

In 2011, Artspace refinanced the Northern, using a new round of Low Income Housing Tax Credits to pay for more energy-efficient windows, a new roof and tuckpointing of the building’s distinctive brown brick façade. The refinancing guarantees Artspace’s first project will remain affordable for the artists who helped revive Lowertown for an additional 30 years. 

Development Cost

$10 million

Architect

DJR Architecture, Inc.

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Our Thanks to...

Financing*

Housing and Redevelopment Authority of the City of Saint Paul
Minnesota State Historic Tax Credits
WNC Associates

Funders*

F.R. Bigelow Foundation
Minnesota Historical Society
Saint Paul Cultural STAR Program
The Saint Paul Foundation

*2011 refinance