Artspace ribbon cuttingProject also earns CREW award

The Michigan Downtown Association (MDA) recognized the positive impact of Dearborn’s City Hall Artspace Lofts by naming it the Best Economic Development Private Project over $1 million on Oct. 19.

The MDA is a statewide, non-profit organization dedicated to the growth and interest of downtowns and communities throughout Michigan.

It encourages the redevelopment, development and continuous improvement of communities and downtowns across the state.

Projects like the City Hall Artspace Lofts were honored for their impact as catalyst projects to promote further revitalization of downtown areas.

City Hall Artspace Lofts at Michigan Avenue and Schaefer provides affordable housing units for artists, as well as work and exhibit space.  Artspace, a nonprofit organization based in Minnesota, has about 35 successful projects across the country. Dearborn’s facility is the only one in Michigan. 

Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly and the East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority invited Artspace to town to improve east Dearborn’s economic base after the Great Recession in 2008.

 After looking at multiple properties in Dearborn, unconcerned about whether they were for sale or not, Artspace chose Dearborn’s City Hall. A series of positive events resulted in City Hall being developed for the transformative project, which consists of 53 residential live/work units, an artist-in-residence unit, galleries, storage, incubator space, and more.

City Hall has been designated as an historic building by the State of Michigan, and so its exterior appearance can’t be altered. The building’s historic charm was an attraction for Artspace, which dramatically renovated the interior space, while keeping iconic features, like the spiral staircase.

For the MDA awards, City Hall Artspace Lofts was one of multiple submissions in four major categories. It was honored along with Jenifer Acosta Development for The Times Loft in Bay City.

City Hall Artspace Lofts was also honored in September by another prestigious organization: the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Detroit. CREW gave it a Special Impact Award at its annual awards luncheon at the Detroit Athletic Club.

The award is given to projects in the Southeastern Michigan area that demonstrate a significant, positive social and economic impact on the communities in which they are built. 

The two recent awards for City Hall Artspace Lofts follow the 2016 Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation, a coveted distinction.