Plans for Arts Warehouse taking shape

Plans for Arts Warehouse taking shape

14:20 01 August in News Stories
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February 12, 2014|Fallan Patterson fpatterson@tribune.com

These days, the vacant warehouse on Northeast Third Street in Delray Beach is mostly known for its colorful exterior and announcing to passersby the Artist’s Alley section of Pineapple Grove.

Named Arts Warehouse, the facility will soon have affordable studios for visual artists, exhibition and gallery space and a business incubator as part of the Delray Beach Cultural Plan, which was developed in 2006.

The Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, which acquired the building in 2010, is seeking Requests for Qualifications for the planning, operations and management of the Arts Warehouse.

“Since we acquired the building, Artist’s Alley has just taken off,” said Elizabeth Burrows, the CRA’s economic development manager. “As the idea developed, we were working on essentially incubating the warehouse and starting to figure out how to implement it into the city’s Cultural Plan.”

A two-year feasibility study by Arts Consulting Group, Inc helped the city hone its plan for the warehouse and help diversify it from other art start-ups in the city, such as Arts Garage, which continuing to expand Delray Beach’s reputation as an artist-friendly city.

“The CRA, in response to the city’s desire to become an arts and cultural destination, acquired the property and created these initiatives,” said CRA assistant director Jeff Costello. “This has been going on for years.”

The CRA is looking to contact with either a nonprofit organization or for-profit company to manage and operate the facility, refine the business plan, determine exactly how the warehouse needs to be renovated and implement programming once the facility is open.

“How successful the facility is depends on who comes in to manage it so we’re hoping to attract some good talent,” Burrows said.

The conceptual plan for the Arts Warehouse would focus primarily on visual arts artists with studio and exhibition space as well as a business incubator for professions associated with the arts. Other areas would include administrative offices, classroom space and a kitchen for catering events.

“We’d be looking for businesses that would be a good complement to the arts such as graphic artists,” Burrows said. ‘Anything we could do to incorporate business and innovation that would complement the arts.”

The 15,000-square-foot warehouse, which was once owned by a moving van company and also used by the previous owner to store vehicles, would be renovated inside, specifically to create additional square footage by installing a second floor in areas of the building where the ceiling is high. Costello estimated the warehouse would grow to 22,000 square feet.

“There’s a lot of opportunity to do some great things there,” Burrows said.

The CRA is excited about the next chapter of the building.

“We have some great momentum growing here and feel this will really become an anchor in that area,” Costello said.

Information on the Request for Qualification and the supplemental materials can be found at delraycra.org. The deadline for submission is March 4.

For information, contact the city of Delray Beach Purchasing Division, 100 NW First Ave., Delray Beach, FL 33444 or at nadal@mydelraybeach.com.