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NYCAH Creating Artist Housing

The New York Coalition for Artist's Housing (NYCAH) is taking major steps toward creating affordable co-ops for artists--including performers--in New York City. In addition to launching a website to encourage membership and disseminate information on the project, NYCAH representatives recently met with the government agency that oversees a potential housing site.

NYCAH has fingered four locations in Brooklyn and one in Queens as optimal renovation sites. At this point, the most likely candidate for the first fix-up is located in Red Hook, Brooklyn at 480-500 Van Brunt St.

Other developers are also interested in the site, so NYCAH must await a decision on the property's fate before setting a start date for the Red Hook Project. No date has been set for the decision.

Divided Opinions

Members' opinions on the site seem to be divided between performers and visual artists. Performers do not favor the Red Hook site, according to member Mark Coniglio, a dancer/choreographer, because it is too far from public transportation. Theater artists and dancers need a building that is more accessible for rehearsals. By nearly all other standards, the building is appealing, described by the coalition as having 'large windows and good ceiling heights.'

If NYCAH develops the Red Hook Building, it will have approximately 90 units in its 246,000 sq. ft. space.

Artists who participate in the housing plan will eventually own a live/work space of approximately 1,000 sq. ft. with a bathroom, kitchen, heating, and new electrical service and windows.

The estimated cost of this type of space will be $100 per sq. ft., which translates to $100,000 for the standard studio. The down payment will range from $5,000 to $10,000, and monthly payments will be about $1,000.

If tax exemptions come through, as NYCAH anticipates, the monthly cost could be driven as low as $800 for the standard space.

Based on Successful Model

The New York project is based on a model successfully developed in Boston where 12 artist housing projects have been created since 1980.

David Judelson, a sculptor with a background in architecture, is heading up the coalition in New York and was heavily involved with the progress of the Boston development. He did not return phone calls before press time.

NYCAH's website states that the group considers only loft buildings of 40,000 sq. ft. or more, close to good public transportation, safety, zoning, good light, high ceilings, parking, and good ground floor loading.

NYCAH has brought at least 150 artists together on the project thus far, and is encouraging others to come to meetings and become members. The fee is $75 for individuals and $150 for organizations.

Interested parties may print an application from the NYCAH website or attend a meeting. The next one is scheduled for Sept. 15 at 7:45 pm at BACA, in the War Memorial Building, 195 Camden Plaza West, downtown Brooklyn.

For further information, contact BACA at (718) 230-3842, send SASE to the above adress, or visit the website at

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