By ZEINAB NAJM
With the deal closed and contractor hired, the focus shifted to the work that needed to be done to transform the complex into apartments. The Michigan-based Monahan company is handling the construction for the project.
“We have cleared all of the buildings of the office furniture that was left, we have also removed all the carpet,” Artspace project manager Becky St. Clair said.
The environmental abatement is taking place and will take a month to complete.
“The buildings are currently undergoing asbestos abatement,” St. Clair said. “The City Hall and the West Annex building should be complete by the end of February.”
For Artspace, only minor demolition will be required during the project.
“The demolition of the parking deck should be complete in the next week or two,” St. Clair said.
During the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce Tale of Our Cities luncheon Jan. 13, Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. said the complex received a National Historic site designation. This limits what changes can be made to the structures, especially the exterior.
Next for the transformation will be interior demolition.
“During the winter months, the work will be primarily taking place inside the buildings,” St. Clair said. “Once the weather warms up, we will be able to do site work and work on the outside of the building, such as roof repairs and brick tuck pointing.”
The Minneapolis-based non-profit purchased the building on Dec. 30 and got the keys to the complex on Jan. 5.
The seven-year process began in 2008 after Artspace met with the East Downtown Dearborn Development Authority to discuss the possibility of the project, its first in Michigan. Artspace officials considered more than 20 sites in the city.
The completed project will include 53 apartment units made up of affordable live and work space for artists and their families as well as work studios, co-working space for entrepreneurs and artists, a live and work unit for an artist-in-residency program, and galleries.
“The hope is the transformation of the building will bring new artists, activities and interest into the city,” O’Reilly said during the luncheon.
The total cost will be just under $17 million, which came from various funding. The project is expected to be completed by late 2015 or early 2016, with leasing information coming in the spring.
For more information on the project go to artspace.org.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)