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Re: Powerhouse Arts District digs going to other occupations / Artists fail to buy but like the rentals
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including a 32-inch diameter Chlamydia bacterium


ah, art

Posted on: 2007/12/24 14:15
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Re: Powerhouse Arts District digs going to other occupations / Artists fail to buy but like the rent
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The artists and others should ridicule these middle income non-artists right out of Jersey City. Shame on them, shame on Jersey City officials. We knew this would happen, power house arts district - HA! BS from day one! Use what power you have people! Rise up!

Posted on: 2007/12/24 12:04
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Powerhouse Arts District digs going to other occupations / Artists fail to buy but like the rentals
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(There are 2 related Jersey Journal articles posted here)

"Powerhouse Arts District digs are going to people from other occupations" -- Many artists fail to buy but they like the affordable rental units: "A home and a place to be inspired"

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FINDING FEW TAKERS
Powerhouse Arts District digs are going to people from other occupations

Monday, December 24, 2007
By CHARLES HACK
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

City officials say they are struggling to find qualified applicants for new affordable or market-rate live/work artist studios in the downtown Powerhouse Arts District.

The problem isn't a shortage of artists - the city's Artists Certification Board has 470 on their waiting list for work/live space - but rather, city officials say, they don't have enough artists who qualify for mortgages or others drop out during the qualification process.

As a result, city officials say, they're allowing more and more middle-income people from other occupations to live in the developments being built in a six-block area intended to be Jersey City's haven for the arts community.

But artists and preservation groups say it's another instance of city officials abandoning the principles outlined in the Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan it adopted in 2004, and caving into the pressure from big development interests.

It's impossible to know for certain how many of the 334 market-rate studios in the district have gone to artists, as developers aren't obligated to report how those units were allocated.

But Robert Antonicello - director of the city's Department of Housing, Economic Development and Commerce - says that answers from a focus group conducted with artists over the summer revealed that many felt isolated because their neighbors aren't fellow artists, but rather professionals from the legal, financial and business sectors.

The zoning under the redevelopment plan was designed to create a community of artists within a historical district of former warehouses. Ten percent of the units for new projects were set aside for low-income artists.

The latest development with the Powerhouse Arts District is a proposed high-rise development from Toll Brothers. The developer is asking the city to approve a project with 950 market-rate apartments in three towers, one of which soars to 395 feet.

The developer says it is looking to attract more people from the performing arts, with a plan that includes a 550-seat theater, art spaces and rehearsal rooms - but just 12 live/work artists studios. And only one of the 12 artist units would be considered affordable housing - and if a certified artist didn't get it, it would go to someone else.

"You can't leave affordable housing vacant waiting to make it available for someone living outside Jersey City," Antonicello said. "It is not fair to people who have lived in Jersey City all their lives."

Thirty-two apartments would be "workforce housing" for middle income earners - at least 80 percent of area median income - on Marin and Bay Street. The equivalent of 18 units would go elsewhere in the city.

He said the administration is trying to create an arts entertainment and retail center for all residents of the city, something it had lacked since the heyday of Journal Square.

But after the city settled with the owners of 111 First St. - allowing them to demolish the former artists' colony and to build a new 52-story development - Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association members fear a "domino affect" where other developers may change their minds about creating developments with artists in mind.

Marc Simon, a member of the Powerhouse Arts District Neighborhood Association who rents a market-rate 10th floor penthouse apartment with a rooftop patio at 150 Bay St., says the artists district concept would work, but only if the city stands up to the developers.

"We are all a tight-knit group," Simon said. "Not only do we all enjoy each other's company, we collect each other's work. That is something I never experienced in 28 years in Manhattan."

His building is one of five projects with live/work spaces designed for the needs of artists in the PAD. It is the only project so far to have rental units.

"Before I signed the lease, I looked at the resolution that created the Powerhouse Arts District and found it is a really wonderful area because of the zoning restrictions," said Simon, who is a real estate broker, architect and sculptor. "Only after I lived here, did I discover the city is not supporting all their own good work."

==============================

A home and a place to be inspired
Monday, December 24, 2007
By CHARLES HACK
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

Lynda D'Amico's cavernous studio in the A & P warehouse is more than just an affordable place to live. It also is a place of inspiration.

For D'Amico, sculptor Robert Koch and other artists living at 150 Bay St., the ability to go down the hall and chat with another artist is just as important as the low rent and artist-friendly design of the lofts.

"We help one another other out as far as critiquing each other's work," said D'Amico, a freelance print designer. "We have each other's keys. There is a real sense of family and community. I think that is really special."

They live in the six-block Powerhouse Arts District, part of a development plan designed to create a vibrant arts district among restored historic warehouses and industrial buildings in Downtown Jersey City.

The studios are reached from elevators, with double doors wide enough for a large sculpture or canvass. The rooms, soaked in natural light, have concrete floors and 12-foot ceilings.

Those who live in affordable units might typically pay between $600 and $800 a month, depending on income, for a 1,200-square-foot studio.

To qualify for the affordable housing, applicants provided resumes and examples of their work to the Artists Certification Board, and three years of financial statements to Jersey City's Department of Housing and Economic Development before entering a lottery for the units.

D'Amico's easel is positioned near an immense west-facing window with roof top views. Oil paintings inspired by the cityscapes and industrial buildings in Jersey City - including the Port Authority's powerhouse, which gave the district its name - hang on her walls.

"I love this type of architecture," she said. "I started this series when I moved to the area, when most of it was intact but things were already starting to change. Some of the buildings have been demolished already."

Koch showcases in his studio welded steel rod sculptures, including a 32-inch diameter Chlamydia bacterium. He loves his studio, but fears a new development proposed to the south could blot out views and natural light.

Koch's landlord commissioned a work for the building - a sculpture consisting of eight metallic orbs, now sitting in front of the building - and two of his abstract paintings hang in the building's lobby.

Posted on: 2007/12/24 11:28
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