While many American cities are realizing a vibrancy and economic resurgence not seen in our nations history, others continue to struggle to build themselves back from the throws of blight and abandonment. Detroit is one such city that has seen better times but is beginning to see a cultural renaissance take place amid the opportunities exposed by decades of abandonment and blight.
After establishing Williamsburg in New York City as a cultural destination in the 1990's, Galapagos Art Space is being pushed out of it's current space due to increasingly expensive rents in the neighborhood they helped reestablish and revitalize. Finding opportunity in Detroit, Galapagos' founders have purchased over half a million square feet of space in Detroit's Corktown for "the price of a small apartment" in New York City.
Having learned from their experiences back east in Williamsburg, New York, Galapagos' founders hope to create a revenue share model with the tenants who they believe will be responsible for bringing vibrancy back to the neighborhood. Galapagos will share 20% of the increase in property value with it's tenants in hopes that it allows them remain in their spaces as rents continue to rise and the neighborhood's recovery and reinvestment continues.
In Detroit, we want to prove a new model for funding the arts. By making founding partners out of the cultural organizations creating change and the local governments working to grow their creative-based economies - and the essential foundation community - we believe we can do that.
In the biggest vote of confidence in the success of this project and the funding model to date, Founder Robert Elmes recently moved his family from New York to Detroit and expects the first tenants to begin to occupy the space by late 2016. We're looking forward to seeng this alternative financing model succeeding and seeing this novel method of ensuring the longevity of a neighborhoods cultural assets continue.
Starting a dialogue on the future of urban living in Boston and beyond.