The Central District‘s Pratt Fine Arts Center is gathering proposals for the creation of an arts-based community, with a mixture of housing, studios, office space, and gathering space. This “arts district” will transform the center’s property between South Main and Jackson streets and 19th and 20th avenues south.
The exact make-up of the district and the timeline for the build out will be largely left up to the developer chosen through the proposal process. Proposals are due October 11.
Currently, Pratt’s offices are crowded into inadequate space, overflowing into classrooms and studios in some places, so part of the impetus for a new development is to relocate the office space. Other parts of the project will help Pratt establish a Jackson Street-facing front office, and perhaps a public cafe and/or other gathering areas where artists can mingle and share work.
“The whole concept is an artists’ hub,” says Pratt Executive Director Steve Galatro. “These spaces will face inward to create synergy among the buildings.” The new development will utilize parts of the property that currently sit empty or house parking, which Galatro envisions moving underground. He says about 120 residents may be housed in the future loft space.
The new development will share the block with one of Pratt’s studio spaces. Here, and in Pratt’s space on S. Main Street abutting Pratt Park, established artists and curious beginners can take classes on glass blowing, jewelry, metals, drawing, painting, printmaking, and more. The nonprofit welcomes around 20,000 visitors a year to its classes, exhibitions, and open houses.
Pratt is working with real estate advisory firm Heartland, LLC, to oversee the development. The timeline on accepting a proposal and beginning construction is very open, but Galatro emphasized the nonprofit wants to move things along as quickly as possible.
The announcement of Pratt’s new project comes on the heels of another potential development along the Jackson Street corridor. Developer Isola Capitol proposes building 160-unit Atlantic Flats at 1801 S. Jackson Street, and the area is poised for further projects.
“It’s a viable retail corridor, with the population density going up,” says Galatro. “Pratt is at the heart of it all.”
Also in this stretch of Jackson, (in the 2000 block of S. Jackson) is a housing project proposed by the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), the developer of Ernestine Anderson Place and owner of the vacant lot just to the east of that building. Sharon Lee, Director of LIHI will be at the next Squire Park Community Council meeting to talk about the proposed development and about the Nickelsville encampment currently on that site.
The next Squire Park Community Council meeting: Saturday, October 12, 10:00 A.M. at Centerstone (formerly CAMP).