This impressive brick structure is located in Saint Paul's historic and diverse Frogtown Neighborhood, where a large population of Hmong families immigrated from the mountainous regions of Laos and Cambodia. Built in 1917 as a clothing factory, 653 Artist Lofts was Artspace's second live/work project, created especially for artists with families. This former factory was once a significant eyesores in a neighborhood experiencing decline; the infusion of three dozen artists and their families brought needed stability and additional vibrancy to the neighborhood. 653 Artist Lofts (previously titled the Frogtown Family Lofts) opened in 1992 with 36 two- and three-bedroom apartments, shared gardens, a children's play area, and a two-story art gallery known as the Atrium.
Architect: Dovolis, Johnson & Ruggieri
Development Partner: Twin Cities Housing Development Corporation
Funders: AFL-CIO Housing Investment Fund; Family Housing Fund of Minneapolis & Saint Paul; Minnesota Housing Finance Agency; National Equity Fund; Saint Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority; U.S. Bank; Bush Foundation; F. R. Bigelow Foundation; Local Initiatives Support Corporation; The McKnight Foundation; Northwest Area Foundation; Saint Paul Companies; Saint Paul Department of Planning and Economic Development; and The Saint Paul Foundation
Type of Development:
Live/Work Artist Housing
Number of Units:
Total Project Cost:
These spaces … not only transformed vacant eyesores and restored historic structures; community members also credit them with helping spur area redevelopment and providing lasting artist cachet.