THIRD ANNUAL HPAAC TICKETS ON SALE HERE

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Lots of auction items are coming in now:

  • Handcrafted caramels by Pat Powers
  • A birthday party for 15 at RainDance, a new and wonderful        dance studio in Hastings–includes an hour of dance, 45  minutes of gymnastics, and 45 minutes for food and drink.
  • Landscape painting by landscape artist Richard Reynolds   Ward
  • Landscape design by Kevin Egeberg and Wendy Loomis
  • Four Hour hours of handyman service by Andy McCoy
  • Bushes from Bailey Nursery
  • A three day stay at a wonderful condominium in Lutsen
  • Green Mill private party for 25
  • Private four course dinner for four at Onion Grille
  • Commissioned watercolor by Andy Evansen
  • Ansel Adams First Edition signed photographs
  • An evening with Janet Martin
  • Princess Salon Package at The Elm Salon and Spa 

HPAAC Announces Arts Heroes for the 2014 Gallery Gala

HPAAC is delighted to announce the Arts Heroes for the 2014 Gallery Gala to be held on Friday, October 10 at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish Hall in Hastings, Minnesota.

Lin and Kathy Warren are both teachers in the Hastings School District–Lin Warren teaches choral music at the Hastings Senior High School, while Kathy teaches Instrumental Music at the Hastings Middle School. Together Kathy and Lin have instilled in countless Hastings students a knowledge and appreciation of music for almost 30 years.  Kathyandlin4

Tom Blanck, a retired architect, and his wife Linda Bjorkland, a retired teacher from the Minneapolis School District, are artists in Prescott who have contributed greatly to the cultural life of Prescott. Each Thursday, Tom and Linda host the Little Colony Painters Group at the United Congregational Church in Prescott.

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This year, both HPAAC and the Hastings Area Rotary Club are sponsoring the Gallery Gala.

Dick Graham talks about what HPAAC stands for

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Dick Graham was recently asked what HPAAC stands for. The letters HPAAC are an acronym for the Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council.  Our president, Dick Graham, talks about what our organization stands for, or, our mission.  Debbie Saunders

WRITERS WORKSHOP

LEDUCESTATE Calling all writers!  You don’t need to be an experienced writer; you just need the desire to write and hone your skills.  Facilitated by Diane Saed, the Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council (HPAAC) writers group meets from 6:30 to 8:15 pm on the first Tuesday of each month at the LeDuc Historic Estate. Admission is free for HPAAC members and a free-will donation will be accepted from others.

Writers are encouraged to bring reading suggestions, share their writing and discuss the positives and negatives they have encountered with writing.  Each session is loosely structured into three segments: discussing what participants have read and recommend; writing from a prompt, critiquing previous writing, or a brief writing lesson, and sharing of personal writing or writing of others.

Upcoming meetings are March 4 and April 2.  In collaboration with Dakota County Library, HPAAC writers will be bringing the following regional authors to Hastings:  Spike Carlson, “A Splintered History of Wood”, Colleen  Baldrica, author of “Tree Spirited Woman”, and Marisha Chamberlain, playwright, poet, librettist author and scholar.  Author and scholar David Page recently spoke about the writing and lives of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.  Check for dates and times at Pleasant Hill Library or visit our website.

STATEMENT OF HPAAC PRESIDENT ABOUT ARTSPACE

Hudson Building
Hudson Building

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             A Hastings partnership with Artspace to redevelop the Hudson property would be good for all of us.  Artspace has a perfect thirty year history of success. They have never come back to a community requesting additional financing, never leave projects half finished or partially occupied. Completed Artspace projects remain fully occupied with positive revenue flows.  Artspace projects attract young, creative people to communities and entrepreneurship, youthful vibrancy follows. Artspace projects put communities and neighborhoods on the map. Because they are a non-profit organization more money stays in the community.

            The current stage of a possible Artspace project in Hastings is the completion of 4-6 month market research to determine if an Artspace project would work in Hastings. HPAAC(Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council) has requested $30,000 from The Saint Paul Foundation to complete this research.  The Foundation’s decision will be made late November and the study could commence after the holidays for spring completion. At that point, if the research points to success, the decision to proceed with a partnership with Artspace could be made by HEDRA.  Other timing factors in Artspace’s preliminary schedule include: the approval by the National Parks Service, designation as a historic site (to secure tax credits), approval by goverrnment agencies for housing tax credits, selection of  final designs, architects , contractors, and commercial tenants.

            Artspace as a nonprofit developer creates community owned projects that require high significant citizen involvement during all steps of the process which also takes time. As a national organization, Artspace very carefully selects 2-3 new projects a year in all of the United States.   (One current project is a $56million school renovation in Manhattan.) The Hudson Sprayer Building in the city of Hastings, along with the trails and rivers, other riverfront development  and historic pride could become a landmark Artspace partnership.

            Success follows careful and thoughtful planning. Communities, large and small, have unused, underdeveloped, and abandoned community development projects along with many successes.  A Hudson Building reuse study, commissioned by HEDRA, raised caution and concerns about moving too fast.    HPAAC hopes we can be a part of offering Hastings one model, one approach to a successful development.

Richard Graham

Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council

ARTSPACE FEASIBILITY STUDY FOR HUDSON SPRAYER BUILDING

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preliminary feasibility report:

Hastings, Minnesota

 

 

Prepared for the

Hastings-Prescott Area Arts Council

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

August 2013

 


 

H

astings, Minnesota, is blessed with a picturesque site on the Mississippi River just upstream from its confluence with the St. Croix, a largely intact historic downtown district, and small-town charm that belies its proximity to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

 

Like so many river towns, Hastings long thought about the Mississippi chiefly as a means of transporting passengers and freight and as a source of water for local industries. The idea that the rivers might also have enormous potential for recreation and tourism is a more recent notion, but it has certainly taken hold in these two riparian corridors. In 1968, Congress created the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway (SCNSR), which protects the entire 252-mile length of the St. Croix River watershed. Twenty years later, it established the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA), a “partnership park” that protects a 72-mile stretch of the Mississippi from well north of the Twin Cities to Ravenna Township just downstream from Hastings.

 

These two measures, among others, have helped drive new development policies up and down the Mississippi and St. Croix. In recent years, in order to make the river more accessible to visitors and residents alike, the City of Hastings has systematically acquired properties along its riverfront. As part of this process, in 2010 it purchased the H. D. Hudson Manufacturing Building, located at 200 W. Second Street, and helped the company relocate to an industrial park on the south side of town.

Text Box: The southern end of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area as shown on a National Park Service map. Most of the land within the MNRRA is privately owned.

Built in stages between 1914 and 1946 (two later additions have been razed) on the site of a 19th-century sawmill, the Hudson Building is the last waterfront industrial building in downtown Hastings. It is adjacent to the new Highway 61 bridge, which – though open to traffic – was still under construction at the time of our visit. The new bridge separates the Hudson Building from the rest of downtown, but because it is elevated where it crosses Second Street, both vehicles and pedestrians will be able to pass freely beneath it once construction is completed. In other words, while the bridge will always be a visible barrier, it will not be a physical one.

Text Box: The Hudson Building seen from the south, with the new Highway 61 bridge in the background. Having acquired the Hudson Building, the City had to decide what to do with it. The first question – whether to save it or tear it down – appears to have been resolved in favor of preservation and adaptive reuse. A structural report, completed in August 2011 by Stark Preservation Planning of Minneapolis and Claybaugh Preservation Architecture of Taylors Falls, indicated that the historic portions of the building need extensive remedial work but are structurally sound and in reasonable condition for structures of their age. A subsequent Reuse Study, conducted by the same consultants, suggested a number of potential uses with a tenant mix “that may include restaurant, banquet hall, lodging, market-rate housing, office, retail, and tourist-related activities with a public component.”

 

The reuse study offered three main scenarios. As Bob Spaulding reported in the Friends of the Mississippi River newsletter, “All three scenarios include roughly similar amounts of restaurant and coffee-shop, retail, art gallery, and interpretive space, as well as recreational equipment rental.” The scenarios differed, however, with respect to their anchor tenants: a 50-room hotel, a 25-room hotel complemented by 13 market-rate condominiums, and a restaurant/banquet center complemented by 35,000 square feet of office space.

 

None of these scenarios, however, seems to have won the hearts and minds of the Hastings community. Nor have any of the more recent proposals for market-rate housing that have been put forward. While hotels and market-rate housing certainly have their place, the Hudson Building, by virtue of its exquisite riverside location and astonishing potential, seems to call for something special.

 

Late last year, the Hastings-Prescott Area Arts Council got involved. HPAAC is a five-year-old nonprofit arts organization whose mission is to foster the arts in the Hastings-Prescott area. It has about 60 members. It sponsors the charming Orange Dragon Gallery in Prescott, which focuses on area artists, and it regularly partners with other nonprofit entities, including the LeDuc Historic Estate, Hastings Garden Club, Rosemount Area Arts Council, Dakota County Parks, Black Dirt Theater, and Freedom Park in Prescott (all in 2012).

 

HPAAC began its relationship with Artspace by sending a delegation to the Twin Cities to meet with Artspace staff and tour several Artspace buildings. It then invited Artspace to come to Hastings for a formal Preliminary Feasibility Visit, which took place June 5-6, 2013. Artspace was represented by Wendy Holmes, Senior Vice President of Consulting and Strategic Partnerships; Roy Close, Vice President of Special Projects; and Anna Staloch, Consulting Associate. The Artspace team, accompanied by HPAAC leaders, subsequently met in Saint Paul with the National Park Service officials who supervise the MNRRA and SCNSR to discuss the NPS’s interest in being part a potential development involving the Hudson Building. This Preliminary Feasibility Report summarizes are findings and includes recommendations for next steps.

 

We gratefully acknowledge the leadership of Dick Graham and Charlotte Vick of HPAAC as well as the other members of the Core Group; of Randy Thoreson, Outdoor Recreation Planner for the National Park Service, who set up our follow-up meeting with the NPS; and of John Hinzman, Community Development Director of the Hastings Economic Development and Redevelopment Authority (HEDRA), who as the City’s representative on the Core Group made the trip to the Twin Cities and attended every meeting during our two-day visit.

 


 

Findings: Project Concept


 

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uring a Preliminary Feasibility Visit, Artspace gathers information relating to six main criteria: project concept, artist market, site feasibility, financial feasibility, local leadership, and sustainable community impact. Of these, the starting point – and the most all-encompassing – is the project concept. What is a “project concept”? At its simplest, it is the vision that the community hopes to bring to life through the project. If the project were a train, the project concept would be the engine.

 

Some communities are clear about what they hope to accomplish. It may involve preserving a specific building: Brainerd, Minnesota, which contacted Artspace in hopes of repurposing its historic Franklin Junior High School, is a case in point. Or it may involve a broader concept such as economic revitalization of a neighborhood. Other communities, however, look to us to guide them through the process of determining whether an arts project makes sense for them – and, if so, what kind of arts project it should be. Still other communities have a general idea of what they would like to achieve but seek professional advice about how to proceed.

 

Text Box: Franklin Junior High School in BrainerdHastings, like Brainerd, is focused on a specific building: the H. D. Hudson Manufacturing Building at 200 W. Second Street. Although we looked at a few other buildings during our visit, most notably the old Armory, the Hudson Building is what brought us to Hastings. It is a very large, iconic structure that can easily be seen from the southbound lanes of the new Highway 61 bridge. Its size (almost 100,000 square feet on three levels), historic character, and highly visible location would lend themselves to many different uses.

 

But which uses make the most sense? As we see it, the project concept for the Hudson Building needs to involve three main elements:

 

·         A “destination” project for Hastings. The Hudson Building is literally next door to the new Highway 61 bridge, the primary gateway to Hastings for southbound travelers from the Twin Cities area. It needs to capitalize on its location, size, and visibility to become a people magnet.

 

·         Recreation and tourism. The building also stands beside two important recreation corridors, the Mississippi River and the Mississippi River Regional Trail. It has the potential to be a “front doorstep to the river,” as MNRRA Superintendent Paul Labovitz remarked. The project concept needs to take these relationships into account in as many ways as possible.

 

·         The arts, preferably affordable live/work housing for artists and their families. An artist live/work project makes sense for a number of reasons. It will bring a permanent population of artists to downtown Hastings, encourage additional residential development in the downtown area, and attract visitors to open studio events, and stimulate the economy of the downtown area in many ways. Moreover, it can be developed at reasonable cost to the community because it can be financed largely through Low Income Housing Tax Credits. If an Arts Market Survey finds that the market for housing is weak, a variety of non-residential arts uses are possible.

 


Findings: Site Analysis


 

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he Hudson Building occupies a two-block site on the west side of downtown Hastings. Its boundaries are the Mississippi River on the north, the new Highway 61 bridge on the east, W. Second Street on the south, and Lock and Dam Road on the west. The Mississippi River Regional Trail, which will ultimately stretch 27 miles from South St. Paul to Hastings, passes between the building and the river – a tight squeeze, because the north end of the building is very close to the water. To the west and south of the site is a historic residential neighborhood; preserving its peaceful character is an important consideration in any reuse plan for the Hudson Building. Lock and Dam Road is so named because it leads to Lock and Dam Number 2, a mile or so upstream. On the way, the road passes through Rebecca Lake Park, a lovely park with wetlands and its own oxbow lake.

Like many factories, the Hudson was built in stages. The earliest section (the part of Building C that is directly above Building A) dates from 1913. Several wings were added over the next two decades, so that by 1940 the factory as seen from above resembled a backward letter F with two wings (Building A and the north-south portion of Building B) extending south towards Second Street from a long east-west spine (Building C and the east-west part of Building B) running parallel to W. Second Street. In 1946, a north wing (Building D) was built that reaches almost to the river. Two later wings, built in 1966 and 1974, have been razed within the last three years, leaving the historic “Backward F” and Building D.

 

The Hudson Building’s historic sections (i.e., everything but Building D) are two-story concrete and brick structures with gabled roofs, large and evenly spaced windows, and high ceilings – especially on the upper level, where in many areas the rooms are open to the peaks of the gables. The floors are wood and appear to be in relatively good shape. Some of the sections have full basements; others do not. Although we encountered standing water in one area, we were assured that the basement is relatively dry – and, more importantly, that it is not in the 100-year flood plain and has never been flooded. If so, that’s good news (though any developer worth his salt will add this to his due diligence checklist).

 

Building D, the 1946 addition, extends north from the middle of the Backward F toward the river. It is two stories tall, has a flat roof and a full basement that is close to the same elevation as the recreational trail, and except for its brick façades is made entirely of poured concrete. It has large, widely spaced windows, many of which were bricked over when the 1966 and 1974 wings were added and which will undoubtedly be reopened when the building is repurposed. Because this wing is not deemed historic (though it is less than a decade away from National Register eligibility), adding more windows would presumably not be an issue.

 

POTENTIAL USES

The potential uses of the Hudson Building are many and varied. The Reuse Study suggests one or more commercial uses – a hotel or a restaurant/event center – as an anchor, plus any of a wide range of ancillary uses, including market-rate housing, a coffee shop, retail stores, an art gallery, and recreational equipment rental. During our two days in Hastings, we encountered at least two entities, the Chamber of Commerce and HPAAC, that would be very interested in relocating to the building. The Dakota County Historical Society, which operates the LeDuc Historic Estate in Hastings, would welcome an opportunity to show more of its historic artifacts than the LeDuc can accommodate. Some artists told us they would welcome a new performance venue of 200 to 300 seats. We heard a range of other suggestions as well: a visitors’ center, an interpretive center operated by the National Park Service, a gift shop, and a micro-brewery, among others. And, of course, affordable live/work spaces for artists and their families – Artspace’s specialty, and the reason for our presence in Hastings.

 

Two remarks stood out. One came from John Hinzman, who told us that the City is looking for uses that will make the Hudson Building a popular destination for residents and visitors alike. He gave the example of a motorist driving south across the new Highway 61 bridge, seeing a place full of people, and deciding to exit and check it out. Even better, no doubt, would be a motorist who looks down not by chance but because the Hudson Building is his or her intended destination because its reputation has spread beyond Hastings. The other statement was made by HPAAC’s Dick Graham, who – borrowing ArtReach St. Croix’s vision for the entire St. Croix Valley – declared that Hastings’ goal for the Hudson Building should be to create a southern portal for “a nationally recognized destination for the arts.”

 

Is the Hudson Building suitable for the arts? Yes. In fact, the Hudson appears to us ideally suited for adaptive reuse as an affordable live/work facility for artists. It has all the features that artists value, including substantial area, high ceilings, ample natural light, durable surfaces, and relatively open interior spaces. There would be plenty of space to create a community room that could double as a gallery.

 

As for complementary uses, if the goal is to transform the Hudson Building into a high-profile destination, the building needs activities that attract people. Given its location, the activities that make the most sense are those involving tourism and recreation. We strongly advocate devoting most or all of Building D to some combination of the following “clusters,” grouped here by common attributes and ranked by our assessment of priority:

 

·         Informational/educational: A visitor/interpretive center with maps and guides to area parks, trails, rivers, lakes, historic sites, restaurants, hotels, motels, bed-and-breakfast establishments, and other tourist attractions. The National Park Service is very interested in being part of this cluster; so is the Chamber of Commerce. These uses should be grouped to the extent possible – co-location enhances their utility – and be in an easily accessed location. To the extent that the repurposed Hudson Building has a main entrance, these uses should be close to it.

 

·         Recreational equipment/supplies: A store where people can rent bicycles, canoes, kayaks, in-line skates, and other items for an hour, an afternoon, or a day. The store should also carry a reasonable stock of supplies, including water, sodas, energy bars, sandwiches, and so on, that its customers are likely to want and need. The lower level closest to the north end of Building D, which would provide immediate access to both the trail and the river, is the most appropriate location.

 

·         Food and beverages: A bar/restaurant, coffee shop, or ice cream shop. The bar/restaurant would an excellent candidate for the north end of the second level – the wall that faces the river should be made of glass – and if possible there should be a rooftop terrace, where patrons would have magnificent views up and down the river in full view of passing motorists.

 

·         Arts-related: In addition to the live/work apartments in the historic sections, we think there should be a cluster of artist studios, open to the public during regularly scheduled hours, to attract visitors to the building. Other uses in this cluster might include a small museum operated by the Dakota County Historical Society, one or more contemporary art galleries and the offices of HPAAC and other Hastings arts organizations.

 

·         Retail stores: While we do not think retail space is among the highest priorities, one or more shops or kiosks would add another element to the Hudson mix. A gift shop specializing in the works of regional artisans – weavers, potters, jewelers, etc. – would be a good use to pencil in here.

 

·         Event space: If there is room for it, either a banquet/event center or a performance venue, whichever is more needed, would be a logical anchor for a cluster that might also include a catering kitchen and separate bar. If there isn’t sufficient room to do this well, another historic building that might work is the old Armory, two blocks away.

 

This list should be considered illustrative, not exhaustive. The goal is to create a destination that draws many different kinds of people for many different reasons by filling the Hudson Building with lively, synergistic, arts-related or arts-friendly uses (including tourism and recreation) from early morning to last call. The ratio of spaces should be determined by the Arts Market Survey and other research, but it stands to reason that the north end of Building D should be set aside for recreational and other uses (such as a restaurant) that need to relate to the river. The historic sections, which collectively contain about 70,000 square feet, would presumably house the live/work and other arts spaces, as well as spaces that need to be easily accessible to visitors.

 

NATIONAL GUARD ARMORY

Text Box: The National Guard Armory We looked briefly at another building with potential for adaptive reuse as an arts facility: the 1922 National Guard Armory at 3rd Street E. and Sibley Street. This is handsome red brick building containing 17,000 square feet; it has an 18-foot ceiling on its main level. Much interior remodeling has taken place over the years, and as a result the building feels very chopped up by temporary walls, partitions, and even a partial mezzanine. After the National Guard left, the building has served variously as a dance hall, a concert hall, and – its current use – a warehouse. A short, currently unused skyway links the Armory to a small office building across the alley; the latter structure is the home of the Chamber of Commerce and several businesses. Both buildings are for sale.

 

We think the Armory could be an outstanding banquet/event center if the Hudson Building cannot accommodate one. It could also become a venue for Hastings performing arts groups, in that there is ample room for a performance space, permanent and/or flexible seating, classrooms, offices, and shops. If Black Dirt Theater, now housed in a former movie theater across the street, ever decides to look for a permanent space, the Armory would be a good choice. And there may be other performing arts groups as well. The City would be wise to acquire the Armory, stabilize it, and save it for a future arts-related use.

 

 

 


Findings: Artist Market


 

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nderstanding the artist market – that is, the market for residential and other kinds of spaces that artists need – is an important early step in the planning for a live/work or mixed-use arts facility. Regardless of the project concept, therefore, we usually recommend an in-depth Arts Market Study, even if Artspace is not to be the developer. The Arts Market Study uses a survey template we developed 15 years ago and have used to quantify the space needs of more than 20,000 artists around the country. In each community, using local input, we customize the survey template to reflect unique characteristics of the proposed project and the local arts scene, then host it online for up to eight weeks. Developing the questionnaire, publicizing it (we attempt to reach at least 5,000 artists), collecting the data, analyzing the results, and preparing a report takes four to six months.

 

The primary goal of the survey is to determine the size and nature of the market for a live/work or mixed-use arts project in the community. We also use it to demonstrate a market for affordable rental space sufficient to satisfy the various public and private entities that make financial investments in our projects.

 

The Arts Market Study gathers a wealth of data about the area’s creative individuals, including age, gender, ethnicity, household size, and other demographic information; the arts activities they practice; the arts facility features and neighborhoods of most interest to them; their current income range and the percent of it that is generated by art; their current studio or work space arrangement; and how much they are willing to pay for housing and studio space.

 

Most important, the survey tells us with reasonable accuracy how many live/work units or studios the local arts community can fill. We generally determine the residential unit count of a proposed project by taking the number of artists who (a) qualify for affordable housing, and (b) express interest in relocating to the project, and dividing that number by three. For example, if 105 artists meet both criteria, we plan for a 35-unit project. This “triple redundancy” policy ensures that our projects lease up quickly and stay fully occupied over time. Because smaller projects are less cost-efficient, in most communities a 30-unit project is the smallest that Artspace will consider if we are to be the developer.

 

Text Box: Full house: the Arts Focus Group session at City Hall We were pleasantly surprised by the size of the turnout for our Arts Focus Group in Hastings. More than 40 artists attended the session, and their diversity in terms of both age and discipline was impressive for a community of Hastings’ size. Disciplines of which we took note included painting, sculpture, pottery, jewelry-making, mosaic, mixed media, fiber, quilting, photography, theater, music and music therapy, ballet and modern dance, poetry, graphic design, and others. Music was an especially well-represented area; we had community band members, music teachers, composers, and at least one pianist, violinist, and opera singer. As is typical in many communities, the more established artists tended to be homeowners with studios in a spare bedroom, basement, or garage. Some were happy with their studio arrangements, though others were interested in finding studio space outside of their homes. Most of the younger artists were excited about the prospect of a live/work project in Hastings. Among the space needs we discussed were live/work, studio, gallery, gathering space, and rehearsal space for community band and theater groups.

 

If an Arts Market Survey identifies a need of 30 or more units, we can think of no better use for the historic sections of the Hudson Building than live/work space for artists and their families. A live/work project in that location would bring a permanent population of artists into downtown Hastings and encourage additional residential development in the downtown area.

 

At an early meeting, John Hinzman told us that the community has “no appetite” for affordable housing. The Reuse Study, which was based in large part on focus group interviews, says much the same thing. In our experience, however, affordable live/work housing for artists is widely accepted as a positive addition to a neighborhood, and we do not think the community would object to it as part of a renovated Hudson Building.

 


Findings: Financial Analysis


 

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n Artspace project represents a substantial financial investment in the community where it is located. But in most cases only a small fraction of that investment comes directly from the community itself. This is because Artspace relies mainly on federal programs, such as Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Historic Tax Credits, Community Development Block Grants, and HOME funds, to pay for the projects we develop. These programs, and others like them, exist to encourage the development of affordable housing, the rehabilitation of historic buildings, economic revitalization of neighborhoods, and other public purposes.

 

During our Hastings meetings, we learned of a number of public resources that could be used to help finance an arts project in the Hudson Building. These included:

 

·         Tax Increment Financing (TIF): In a TIF District, new taxes generated by a redevelopment project can be used to pay for development costs. A portion of the difference or “increment” between existing taxes paid on a property, and taxes paid after redevelopment is made available to the developer. In that the Hudson Building is currently off the tax roll but would pay taxes as an Artspace mixed-used project, this is a potentially significant source of financing.

 

·         Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC): The single most important source of financing for affordable housing, LIHTCs; typically generate more than half the construction budget of an Artspace live/work project. Dakota County, like Washington County, has its own allocation of LIHTCs, which could improve the chances of a LIHTC award.

 

·         Historic Preservation Tax Credits: These credits can be used to pay eligible expenses in the redevelopment of historic buildings, and their value is enhanced in states – including Minnesota – that piggyback state credits on top of the federal credits. To be eligible, a building must be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and listing a building limits the developer’s options. The Hudson Building is eligible but not yet listed. As a rule, Artspace supports National Register listing not only as a means to obtaining the tax credits but also to protect the historical integrity of the building.

 

·         Dakota County HOPE Fund: Established in 2001, the HOPE Fund provides $20,000 per unit of affordable housing up to $500,000 with a required 2-to-1 match.

 

Other programs provide funding for asbestos and lead abatement, reductions in sale price of city-owned assets, and so on.

 

Another potential source is the Mississippi River Fund, a nonprofit created in 2003 to support MNRRA; in its first decade, the Fund has made more than $1.4 million in grants to the National Park Service for project that “add value” to the park, Paul Labovitz told us. “The more (a project) relates to the river and its resources,” he added, “the more interesting it becomes to us.”

 

PHILANTHROPHY

Philanthropy plays an important role in every Artspace project. In a typical live/work project, between 10% and 15% of the total revenue comes in the form of gifts from foundations, corporations and, in some cases, individuals. For a non-residential project (or the non-residential portion of a mixed-used project), the ratio of philanthropic funding can be considerably higher. While Artspace has regional and national funding relationships, it always takes a local lead to help open the doors to potential philanthropic partners.

 

Hastings is fortunate to be located within the Twin Cities metropolitan area, where there are a number of strong foundations with missions that include affordable housing, community development, and the arts. One of these foundations, the Saint Paul Foundation, has already invited HPAAC to submit a proposal for a grant to support an Arts Market Survey and a charette.

 

Investigation will be required to identify other philanthropic prospects. Fortunately, this is a field in which Artspace has considerable experience and skill, and our National Advancement staff is familiar with a variety of programs. One such program is the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design, a National Endowment for the Arts program created in 1991 in conjunction with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and operated in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and three other entities. It supports workshops designed “to enhance the quality of life and economic viability of rural areas through planning, design, and creative placemaking.” Communities of less than 50,000 are eligible.

 


 

Findings: Local Leadership

and Other Criteria


 

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e were invited to Hastings by the Hastings-Prescott Area Arts Council, and it would be difficult to find a stronger set of advocates for the arts. Led by Dick Graham and Charlotte Vick, HPAAC is a group of canny, strategically savvy activists who understand the potential value of the Hudson Building as a cultural destination and who are willing to put in the time and effort – both will be required in spades – to make it happen. Graham and Vick are also members of the Confluence Project, a four-year-old organization that draws its membership from an area that includes not only Hastings and Prescott but also Afton, Minn., and River Falls, Wis., and arranged for Confluence Project members to attend one of our focus group sessions. These are people who see the large picture.

 

Text Box: The Great Rivers Confluence Area, with Hastings in the middle of the circleOur hosts were able to assemble the kinds of civic and cultural leaders we need to meet to assess the potential of creating an artist community in a community. Most of them attended multiple sessions, and they were unequivocal in their support for an Artspace project, if an Arts Market Survey determines that a market exists. Since our visit, HPAAC has advanced the potential project further by applying for a grant that will, if approved, pay the full cost of the survey and also underwrite a charette to gather community input with respect to the Hudson Building. All in all, we think that Hastings is extremely fortunate to have such strong grass-roots leadership.

 

HPAAC has a strong ally in the National Park Service, which is eager to have a presence in a repurposed Hudson Building – the more so because the corresponding facility across the river in Prescott is located on a high bluff that provides magnificent views but no river access. Creating a new access to the river in the Hudson Building is “the epitome of what this park is about,” Labovitz said. “What do we need to do to get this thing going?”

 

Significantly, however, we have yet to see evidence that the City of Hasting is prepared to take a leadership role in advancing an Artspace project in the Hudson Building. While some City leaders appear to be very interested in the idea, others are understandably reluctant to continue paying the holding costs associated with municipal ownership of the property, and would therefore prefer not to wait for Artspace to complete an Arts Market Survey, which takes about six months. We have no quarrel with this fiscally conservative approach; but it needs to be clearly understood by everyone that an Artspace commitment to develop a project in a community is contingent on strong support at City Hall. This is true not only in Hastings but wherever we are invited to work.

 

POTENTIAL FOR SUSTAINED COMMUNITY IMPACT

Of the criteria on which Artspace bases its recommendations for next steps, this is usually the one most difficult to articulate. Yet it is clear that some buildings and sites have more potential than others. Our goal is to place our projects where they can do the most good for their communities. An isolated site, where a project would have relatively little impact on its surroundings, is less appealing to us than a site where a project could help anchor an arts district or a neighborhood.

 

The Hudson Building is ideally situated to make a substantial and sustained impact on the entire community. If its renovation is done well, the building will form a new link between downtown Hastings and the recreational opportunities represented by the river, recreational trail, and Lake Rebecca Park, and it can also be a highly visible beacon for Highway 61 travelers – in short, a destination for Hastings residents and visitors alike. In terms of sustained community impact, the Hudson Building is one of the best we have ever encountered.

 


 

Recommendations and Next Steps


 

W

hile it would be hard to imagine a better candidate than the Hudson Building for an arts project that incorporates recreational uses, there are many questions to be answered before Artspace can make a commitment to proceed. Chief among these are questions about the market for arts-related space in Hastings and the willingness of the City of Hastings to support an Artspace project.

 

To answer the market question, we will need to conduct an Arts Market Survey. As noted, it will take roughly six months to plan, publicize, and conduct the online survey and to analyze the results and prepare a report and recommendations. Happily, HPAAC has already taken the step of applying to The Saint Paul Foundation for a grant that will cover the expense of the survey and a related charette. In that the foundation invited the proposal, we think it has a good chance of success.

 

The question of City support could be more problematic, however. While we have been warmly received by city officials both during the Preliminary Feasibility Visit and during a follow-up presentation to the full HEDRA Board of Commissioners, it’s clear that many at City Hall would prefer to explore other redevelopment proposals submitted by commercial developers before making a decision. The City may decide to accept one of those proposals, in which case we would not expect to have a further role in the redevelopment of the Hudson Building. If the City chooses to delay its decision until the Arts Market Survey has been completed, however, then we would remain an interested party.

 

Beyond these issues, the main thing for Hastings is to continue exploring options. The Hudson Building has the potential to be many things for many people, but it cannot be all things for everyone; decisions will have to be made, spaces allocated. HPAAC’s decision to ask The Saint Paul Foundation for additional money for a charette was a savvy one. A charette will draw many ideas out of the community, and can only improve the community’s chances of finding useful roles for the Hudson Building, regardless of the developer.

 

If the City does not effectively close the discussion by accepting one of the commercial development proposals, we recommend the establishment of a public-private group charged with the responsibility of contacting potential tenants and determining their space needs, appetite for co-location, and budget.

 


APPENDIX 1

 

 

THE PATH OF AN ARTSPACE PROJECT

 

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is an Artspace project. In fact, a typical Artspace live/work project takes from four to seven years to complete. Although no two projects are precisely alike, they all travel a similar path through the development process.

 

Here is a brief look at a typical Artspace live/work project as it proceeds from first inquiries through feasibility studies, predevelopment, and development to completion and occupancy. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of every activity that goes into an Artspace project, and that some actions may occur in a different order.

 

STEP 1: PRELIMINARY FEASIBILITY

Overview

·         Information Gathering and Outreach

Primary Activities

·         Meet with artists, civic leaders, and other stakeholders

·         Conduct public meeting to introduce Artspace and solicit feedback

·         Tour candidate buildings and/or sites

·         Conduct extended outreach as needed to ensure that people from underrepresented communities are included in the process

Deliverables

·         Written report with recommendations for next steps

Prerequisites for Moving Forward

·         Demonstrated support from local leadership

·         Critical mass of artists and arts organizations with space needs

·         Established base of financial support

Time frame

·         3-5 months, kicked off by a 2-day visit

Cost

·         $15,000

 


 

 

STEP 2: ARTS MARKET SURVEY

Overview

·         Assessing the Need

Primary Activities

·         Assemble a comprehensive list of artists (and arts organizations, if applicable) in the area

·         Reach out to artists and creative organizations from diverse arts disciplines, ages, ethnic backgrounds, etc., asking them about their space needs

·         Conduct a public meeting to launch the survey and educate the community about the project

·         Analyze and report on survey findings

Deliverables

·         Written report with recommendations for next steps

Prerequisites for Moving Forward

·         Sufficient number of responses from eligible, interested artists to support an Artspace live/work project

Time frame

·         4-6 months

Cost

·         $30,000 (artists only) or $42,500 (artists and arts organizations)


STEP 3: PREDEVELOPMENT I

Overview

·         Determining Project Location and Size

Primary

Activities

·         Work with City and other stakeholders to establish (a) preliminary project scope and (b) space development program for evaluating building and site capacity

·         Analyze candidate buildings/sites with respect to cost, availability, and other factors impacting their ability to address development program goals

·         Review existing information about potential site(s) to identify key legal, environmental, physical, and financial issues affecting their suitability

         Negotiate with property owners with goal of obtaining site control agreement

         Continue outreach to artists and arts organization

         Connect with potential creative community partners and commercial tenants

Deliverables

·         Confirmation of development space program and goals

·         Assessment of site suitability and identification of any contingent conditions to be resolved through continued due diligence

·         Site control agreement or update regarding status of site control negotiations

·         Summary of project status

Prerequisites for Moving Forward

·         Site control agreement with property owner

·         Growing stakeholder/leadership group

·         Both parties’ agreement on project scope and feasibility

Time frame

·         3-6 months

Cost

·         $150,000


STEP 4: PREDEVELOPMENT II

Overview

·         Project Design and Financial Modeling

Primary

Activities

·         With City participation, establish process for selecting architectural team

·         Confirm development goals and space program with architectural team

·         Engage architect to create conceptual plans and schematic designs

·         Engage contractor or cost consultant to provide pre-construction services

·         Resolve any contingent conditions relating to site control

·         Create capital and operating budgets

·         Obtain proposals and/or letters of interest from lender and equity investor financing partners

·         Prepare and submit Low Income Housing Tax Credit application

·         Submit other financing applications as applicable

·         Maintain excitement for the project within the creative community

·         Encourage and guide local artists to activate the site with arts activities

Deliverables

·         Schematic designs

·         Financial pro-forma detailing capital and operating budgets

·         Preliminary proposals and letters of interest for project mortgage and equity financing

·         Summary of project status

Prerequisites for Moving Forward

·         Award of Low Income Housing Tax Credits (first or second application) or commitment of alternative funding

Time frame

·         10-13 months

Cost

·         $300,000+


STEP 5: PREDEVELOPMENT III

Overview

·         From Tax Credits to Financial Closing

Primary

Activities

·         Secure final gap funding commitments

·         Raise funds for equity, including private sector philanthropic dollars

·         Complete construction documents and submit permit applications

·         Negotiate construction and permanent loan commitments

·         Negotiate limited partner equity investment commitments

·         Advance project to construction closing

·         Communicate the progress of the project to the creative community to keep up the involvement and excitement

Deliverables

·         Successful closing and commencement of construction

Time frame

·         4-6 months

Cost

·         $300,000+

STEP 6: CONSTRUCTION

Overview

·         Construction and Lease-up

Primary

Activities

·         Oversee project construction

·         Engage local management company

·         Identify commercial tenants and sign lease agreements

·         Reach out to potential artist tenants, providing education on the application process

·         Conduct residential tenant selection process

Deliverables

·         Completed project ready for occupancy

Time frame

·         6-10 months

Cost

·         Depends on project (not part of predevelopment contract)

 

 


APPENDIX 1I

 

BUILDING BETTER COMMUNITIES THROUGH THE ARTS

 

What makes a city great? Across America, cities large and small are discovering that one essential quality of every great city is a great arts community. In an era when people are freer than ever to choose where they live, vital arts communities help cities attract and retain residents and businesses. Thriving arts districts are magnets for tourists, restaurants, theaters, and creative industries. In a great city, the arts are not an extra, something to be considered only after “more important” items on the civic agenda are funded. In a great city, the arts are as fundamental as streets, parks, and public transportation.

 

At Artspace, helping cities integrate the arts into their civic agendas is part of our core business. Over the last two decades we have completed 35 major arts projects that contain more than a thousand affordable residences – each with space for a built-in studio – for artists and their families and provide more than a million square feet where artists and arts organizations work, teach, exhibit, rehearsal, perform, and conduct business.

 

We have seen firsthand the power of the arts to transform urban landscapes. Two of our earliest projects helped launch the celebrated renaissance of Saint Paul’s Lowertown neighborhood during the 1990s. In Reno, a lively arts district has sprung up around an Artspace project that opened a decade ago. An Artspace project in Seattle turned an abandoned block in Pioneer Square into the center of that city’s independent gallery scene.

 

What is Artspace?

Established in 1979 to serve as an advocate for artists’ space needs, Artspace effectively fulfilled that mission for nearly a decade. By the late 1980s, however, it was clear that the problem required a more proactive approach, and Artspace made the leap from advocate to developer. Today Artspace is widely recognized as America’s leader in creative placemaking.

 

As a mission-driven nonprofit, Artspace is committed both to the artists who live and work in our projects and to the communities of which they are a part. We work with civic leaders to ensure that our projects successfully deal with the issues they were designed to address.

 

Our programs

Artspace programs fall into three categories: property development, asset management, and national consulting.

 

Property development

Development projects, which typically involve the adaptive reuse of older buildings but can also involve new construction, are the most visible of Artspace’s activities. Artspace typically completes two to four projects each year. Most projects take three to five years from inception to operation.

 

Asset management

Artspace owns or co-owns all the buildings it develops; our portfolio now contains more than $500 million worth of real property. All our projects are financially self-sustaining; we have never returned to a community to ask for operating support for a project once it has been placed into operation. Revenues in excess of expenses are set aside for preventive maintenance, commons area improvements, and building upgrades.

 

National consulting

Artspace acts as a consultant to communities, organizations, and individuals seeking information and advice about developing and operating affordable housing and work space for artists, performing arts centers, and cultural districts. Our expertise as an arts developer gives us not only a unique perspective but also a unique set of skills, and sharing this knowledge we have amassed over the years is central to our mission.

 

Our history

Artspace’s first live/work project opened its doors in 1990. In the mid-1990s, Artspace developed its first project outside Minnesota, the 37-unit Spinning Plate Artist Lofts in Pittsburgh. Invitations to work in other states soon followed. Artspace is now the nation’s leading developer of live/work housing for artists with 28 live/work projects in operation from coast to coast. In all, these projects contain more than 1,100 residential units.

 

Artspace is now a nationally prominent organization with offices in Minneapolis, Seattle, New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. We have projects in operation, under construction, or in development in more than a dozen states. Our national consulting program has helped communities in virtually every state address their arts-related space issues. The nature of our work is evolving, too, to include multiple-facility projects, long-range planning, arts districts, and arts initiatives designed to serve culturally specific groups such as native Hawaiians, the communities of color in New Orleans, and the Native Americans of the Northern Plains.

THE HPAAC MISSION

cropped-2013hpaaclogo12.jpg

The mission of the Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council

is to foster the arts in our communities.

WHO IS HPAAC?
            HPAAC was founded in 2008 when a group of citizens met to explore community needs and recognized that Hastings lacked a focus or advocacy for the arts. Led by Dick Graham, a retired executive for an area non-profit,  the group has accomplished a great deal since our inception.

 

WHAT HPAAC DOES
            Since the mission of HPAAC is to foster the arts in our communities, HPAAC seeks every opportunity to partner with, and support, the efforts of other organizations and individuals. This not only maximizes our limited resources but magnifies the importance and values of others.   HPACC wants to be a builder and creator of foundations and support systems so others can grow.  In 2012, we partnered with LeDuc Historic Estates, the Hastings Garden Club, Rosemount Area Arts Council, Dakota County Parks, Black Dirt Theater, and Freedom Park in Prescott.  

 

HPAAC PROGRAMS AND PLANS
            Among our accomplishments is our partnership with the Prescott community that has led to the establishment of the Orange Dragon Gallery. The RiverValley Band practices weekly and performs throughout the year with over forty musicians. Twenty plus painters meet weekly at the senior center and fifteen writers meet monthly at the Leduc Historic Estate.  A new group of string musicians is being formed.
            At the same time that HPAAC is creating new opportunities for the arts in our community,  we are also expanding our advocacy role to have an impact on the public policy and community conversations in how the arts contributes to economic development and community livability.  HPAAC has made a financial commitment to partner with Art Space Inc. to study potential arts involvement in future uses in development of the Hudson Building and other sites. 

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