Hastings is a picturesque Mississippi River town complete with a walkable downtown full of historic buildings, a burgeoning art scene, and access to a pedestrian and bicycle trail system that extends over 30 miles. Responding to the success of Artspace projects throughout Minnesota and across the country, the Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council (HPAAC) and the City of Hastings brought Artspace in to conduct a survey of the space needs of artists living and working in Hastings and the surrounding River Valley area.
The more than 200 local artists who participated in the survey revealed a need for affordable artist housing and an interest in a variety of spaces that would serve artists and creative industries in Hastings. Based on community and artist demand, Artspace has developed the Artspace Hastings River Lofts. The $12.6-million, mixed-use facility is located on a longtime vacant and formerly industrial site at the east end of downtown Hastings' historic main street. The project includes 37 affordable live/work units for artists and their families, 2,060 square feet of ground-floor retail space, and a 1,600-square-foot resident gallery. It also features early 3,000 square feet of programmable outdoor community and event green space. The project is part of a larger redevelopment effort throughout downtown Hastings and its accompanying Riverfront Renaissance movement, which includes streetscape improvements and the renovation of Levee Park to feature an amphitheater pavilion, children's music area, a walking labyrinth, and picnic areas, just steps from the project.