NIIF joined with the Reinvestment Fund to provide a $2.8 million loan ($1.4 million NIIF) to support the acquisition and preservation of Area 405, an artist studio hub and maker space located in the Station North Arts District (Greenmount West).
Located at 405 East Oliver Street, the 120 year old building is home to more than 40 artists, a 3,000 square foot “library” for tool sharing and do-it-yourself workshops, and a 6,000 square foot event and gallery space.
The building is being purchased through a unique joint venture between the Central Baltimore Partnership (CBP), a local nonprofit, and Ernst Valery, a local real estate developer who has completed multiple projects in Greenmount West and across the Baltimore City.
“I am happy to see that Area 405 will be improved, its mission of housing makers and artists will be preserved, and additional activation will be expanded in order to preserve affordability and instill equity in the neighborhood,” said Mayor Brandon Scott.
The new owners will be maintaining the existing uses and adding new studio and gallery space in portions of the 71,000 square foot building that are currently underutilized, as well as seeking to activate the street level along East Oliver Street.. Longer term, the group plans may develop affordable apartments for artists in the rear of the building.
“Together with Ernst, our team plans to work with the current tenants of the building, members of the Station North Arts District, and the Greenmount West Community Association to both protect the existing uses and activate the building to enhance its contribution to both the arts and the broader community,” said Ellen Janes, Executive Director of the CBP. “We have a strong track record of creating opportunities for Black-and women-owned enterprises in Central Baltimore, and we will give priority to emerging Black and Brown artists and makers in recruitment and support for new tenants.”
NOTE: Photo Credit to Edward Weiss