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County board grants tax credits to Artspace development

On Tuesday, Sept. 22, the Dakota County Board granted essential low income tax credits to Artspace for development of the Artist’s Lofts in Hastings. Hastings city officials, together with Artspace project managers and Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council (HPAAC) members, thanked Dakota County Commissioners for this key vote.  

“We’re really excited that Artspace chose Hastings for this project to assist artists,” said HPAAC chair Dick Graham. “This coalition of HPAAC, city, county and community members helps ensure a successful project where artists and community all benefit. This last formal step now allows Artspace to set a schedule for groundbreaking and construction. HPAAC looks forward to hosting a wonderful musical community celebration at the groundbreaking, which is tentatively set for next spring.  We’ll let everyone know when this will happen.”

Artspace is working towards development of artist live/work units with some commercial space. The site is located at the intersection of Second and Tyler streets, north of Second Street. Artspace anticipates that construction will begin in 2016 and take approximately 10 to 12 months. Although architectural drawings may change, current plans show that the building will be three stories high and contain 37 units divided between studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.  Artspace is committed to designing a building which fits in with the historic nature of Hastings. It will anchor one end of the Hastings Riverfront Renaissance and help promote Hastings as an arts community. 

Artist lofts are larger-than-usual rental units to provide enough space for a studio in the same place an artist lives. The main floor of the overall structure will have commercial and community spaces. When choosing tenants, Artspace utilizes a very broad definition of artist —writers, computer designers, sculptors, painters, quilters, musicians, actors and more.

When the Artspace idea was first explored, HPAAC members believed it was a dream, Graham said. They hoped for success but knew the odds were not good. It was because of the people in the community and organizations that joined with HPAAC that the project is now coming to fruition.