Downtown Memphis has been booming with housing developments over the last few years, and last week I had a chance to do a Hard Hat Tour of the South Main Artspace Lofts that are opening in March.
Located at 138 St. Paul Avenue (near Central Station), the historic, three-story warehouse is being transformed into a mixed-use arts facility specifically for artists and creatives. The affordable housing space will have 58 units (1-3 bedroom), an outdoor arts garden, and a community/gallery space that tenants will be able to use for events and exhibitions.
If you’ve never been on a hard hat tour, it’s pretty cool. We went up four flights of steps (we could all feel the burn, lol!) and saw what’s essentially the “outline” of different units while our tour guide, Alyssa Kelley (Artspace Project Manager), gave us insight on what’s to come.
Internal walls and some cabinetry and lighting is installed, but you’re seeing the space in a raw form during the tour (so imagine what you could do with it). What I really liked about these lofts is the amount of natural light that the units receive (a photographer’s dream). The elevator and hallways are wide, and the ceilings are high, so if you’re say a painter or sculptor, you can get your work and supplies through the complex with ease. The facility is really conducive to creating a true work/life space, which can be hard to do in traditional housing.
Plus, the lofts are actually affordable. The 1 bedroom units start right under $600, with the 3 bedrooms hovering under $850. Rent is income based, and while utilities aren’t included, they’re designed to not exceed a certain amount, which is quite helpful with budgeting. One of the hardest things for artists to do is balance the actual creative process while still being about to pay bills, and with housing being such a huge chunk of income for most, it’s great to see spaces being developed to help support that.
The Artspace Lofts are also within walking distance of so many restaurants, bars and other businesses downtown, so you can work, live and play in your own backyard. To learn more about the Artspace Project and/or to apply (they’re now accepting applicants and these space fill up fast!) visit www.artspace.org/memphis.