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May 20, 2011



Ralph DiBart, Executive Director 914-960-1460 / 212-866-0191 ralphdibart@rcn.com

New Rochelle BID announces Phase Two of "Downtown Artist Spaces Program"

The New Rochelle Business Improvement District (BID) announced the second phase of its a successful “BID Downtown Artist Spaces Program” helping property owners develop vacant upper floor space to rent to artists and arts businesses seeking to lease affordable studios.

Ralph DiBart, Executive Director of the BID stated: “Last year the BID met its goal of working with the owners of 81 Centre Avenue to rehabilitate and lease 10,000 square feet space, vacant for decades, for artists and arts businesses. I am happy to announce that we are starting on another project, to redevelop and lease up to another 7,000 square feet of vacant upper floor space in the heart of downtown New Rochelle as well as rehabilitate the building’s two storefronts. We are very excited about this project, which will create up to fourteen new artist studios—each with great light, some with skylights, and more than eleven foot high ceiling heights, something that artists always seek. We expect that the first spaces will be renovated by the summer. During construction we will be entering into lease agreements with artists who want to reserve the best spaces.”

Artist_Space Divison Studio Before Photo.JPGArtist_Space Centre - Lobby After Photo.JPGArtist_Space Centre Artist Studio Builidng.JPG
Before Photo of Artist Studio
at 81 Centre
Lobby Installation
at 81 Centre Artist Studios
81 Centre Artist Studios

Joel Gendels, an owner at 81 Center Avenue stated: “The best thing we did at 81 Centre Avenue was to become a part of the BID Artist Spaces Program. We were able to develop 10,000 square feet of deteriorated space, vacant for more than two decades, into art studios. We have maintained full occupancy since completion of the project and have found the artists to be responsible and easy tenants. We just wish that we had another building so we could participate further in this innovative private-public-artist partnership.” The BID also worked with the owners of 81 Centre to create an arts installation in its lobby and through its BID Facade Program, historically restore this truly extraordinary terracotta building.

Junho Lee, an owner of 2 Division Street, stated: “Since we purchased the building three years ago, the BID has consistently pursued our participation in their Artist Spaces Program. Given the demonstrated and continued success that the BID has shown at the 81 Centre Studios, even through the current recession, we are happy they did and look forward to having our vacant upper space renovated and occupied and contributing to New Rochelle’s continuing downtown renaissance.”

New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson stated: “The Artist Spaces Program is a win-win for our community. By activating vacant space, we strengthen the downtown real estate market, and by attracting artists to New Rochelle, we enhance the city’s cultural vitality and overall economic health. I applaud the BID for its leadership, as well as the property owners and artists involved for their vision.”

Artist_Space Centre - After Photo with Faith Goldstein.JPG
After Photo of Artist Studio at 81 centre with Artist Faith Goldstein

Faith Goldstein, who commutes to her 81 Centre Studio from Yorktown Heights noted, “I love coming to paint in my studio in downtown New Rochelle. In addition to great space and great light at a great price, I have the convenience of downtown New Rochelle and access to other artists right outside my door.”

To help offset some of the costs of renovating vacant upper space for artist studios and thereby help keep rents reasonable, the BID has secured limited funds for matching grants from the New York State Main Street Program. The BID also assists participating property owners to market the spaces to artists.

The BID actively promotes the arts in downtown. Mr. DiBart stated that promoting the arts increases the diversity of activity downtown and therefore attracts more people. He also announced Phase Two of the BID’s Windows on Art Program at BID Gallery–249 (North Avenue) featuring Don Geyra (www.artisticfx.net) an accomplished fine arts painter as well as a successful decorative and scenic arts artist working in stage (Billie Elliot, Phantom), film (Sex and the City, Sherlock Holmes), and television (Sesame Street, White Collar). Stop by weekly to watch his creative work unfold as he works on a special site specific installation.

Artist_Space Windows on Art - Don Geyra.JPG
Installation: BID Windows on Art
249: Don Gey

These initiatives join other BID arts promotional activities such as its popular Summer Music on the Green, Outdoor Movies and BID Family Saturdays. Mr. DiBart noted that the BID is always exploring new venues encouraging people to frequent downtown. The BID’s goals are to promote economic development, provide sanitation services, beautify public spaces, create enhanced technology services, pursue the historic restoration of building facades,  and support the attraction of new and the retention of existing businesses in Downtown New Rochelle. In its ten year history, the BID’s efforts have resulted in more than $80 million of new, private, taxpaying downtown development and an average of $100,000 per year in grants and corporate sponsorships.








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