NYC Will Build 1,500 New Affordable Artists’ Studios by 2025…but that’s not enough?!

Text by Benjamin Sutton on February 3, 2015

In his State of the City speech today, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan to build 1,500 new affordable live/work units for artists over the next decade.

“We know that New York City is a place with a legend, of struggling, hardworking people who grew up here, came here from around the country, came here from around the world with a simple dream to create something,” de Blasio said. “A lot of them struggled. A lot of them struggle today. Through their struggles, through their vision, they create extraordinary things that came to define this place. We received so much from them. It helped make us a great global capital, but a lot of times they kept struggling. So, for all those generations of artistic visionaries we want to do something different now. We’ll provide 1,500 units of affordable live-work housing for artists and musicians who make New York City such a great and vibrant place.”

The plan is part of a broader municipal strategy to make affordable housing a major priority in 2015, particularly for artists, veterans, and seniors. The live-work units for artists will be developed through the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, with the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) contributing $3 million annually, and another $3 million coming from private donors. Every year through 2024, the city will build 150 new units for artists. The decade-long initiative will also see the creation of “500 dedicated affordable work spaces for the cultural community,” de Blasio said, converted from city-owned properties that are underused. An initial request for proposals for the new affordable artists’ housing is expected to be released by the end of 2015, with the DCA partnering with outside organizations — chiefly nonprofits — to determine the ideal criteria for projects.

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