Live to Work? ... artists Work to Live
The Willamette Week published a completely interesting article by Zach Dundas
today on a
potential solution to the critical creative live/work space issue in Portland
. It's an important follow-up to his early
reporting on the issue here
A synopsis, developer Brad Malsin of BEAM and Works
have come up with a plan to build spartan, concrete
box rental live/work lofts that would go for around $500 a month in the Central
Eastside Arts District
. This would be a huge boon since Portland is swarming
with literally thousands upon thousands of artists, crafters and entrepreneurs
who are currently using their ill equipped living spaces as studios illegally.
This would be so much better, although owning a place is ultimately the way
you want to go (some of the 30+ crowd have bought places in the NE as well as on North Mississippi and North Interstate recently). The secret apparently is WPA's plan for communal bathrooms and
IKEA kitchenettes. Its true, most artists care less about doors and finished
rooms than raw, impressionable space.
I found it particularly interesting when one of the architects, Carrie Shilling
stated, "Your making it less enticing in a way....That can be tough for
some developers to think about because you're willfully restricting your profit
if you build one."
So what about the developer? Brad Malsin was the underdog developer who wasn't
completely awarded the very important Burnside bridgehead redevelopment even
though he had the best and most popular plan by far. I've also worked with him,
he made my The
warehouse show possible by providing the space. He understood
the collateral/catalytic effects that having 31 artists and a few thousand art
lovers might have on his property, and to use his words at the time, "just trying to do
the right thing for the community by doing something cool." Later, clarklewis
the best restaurant north of San Francisco opened up downstairs with a similar
urban, spartan chic. I'm pretty sure Brad understands, he's from New York and
saw how pure greed lead to less than ideal communities. I'll repeat my mantra, more growth is coming to Portland and instead of ignoring it, the city should encourage the kind of initiative and intelligent sensitivity this kind of project displays. Change will continue and it's best for everyone here that it be directed intelligently.