York has a Valentine's date with Artspace.

The Minneapolis firm - one of the nation's leading nonprofit real estate developers - is sending visitors Feb. 13 and 14.

Kevin Schreiber, York's economic and community development director, has been in contact with Artspace for a few months. He recently toured a project Artspace consulted on in Baltimore. An old factory was converted into apartments, which attracted artists to live and work in the community. Schreiber saw the potential for similar projects in York.

"Their formula seems to work," he said. "Why try to invent this on our own?"

The city owns some large real estate properties, and, last year, it acquired the Bond building. Schreiber said there are plans to develop the space into artist housing and studios. Several local arts groups and artists have toured the building and have expressed interest in using it.

During their visit next month, Artspace representatives will tour city properties and try to establish potential price points. The first step the firm takes when considering potential projects is to conduct a market study to analyze feasibility and demand, Schreiber said.

They'll meet with the arts community and civic leaders and will attend a Feb. 13 public forum at City Hall.

Schreiber said many interested parties, including local colleges, property managers and developers, will participate in discussions. The Cultural Alliance of York County, which has hosted other arts consultants, helped organize the itinerary.


Advertisement

"We have all said that demand exists, but never formalized an assessment on the artist community," Schreiber said. He added that redevelopment projects like the one he envisions for the Bond building might provide a chance to refresh the Artist Homestead program.

In addition to consulting, Artspace can provide other services including, property development, asset and property management and marketing. It's ties to national endowments and foundations can bring additional resources to the table, Schreiber said.

At the minimum, Schreiber said, the city will have a new market study after Valentine's Day. At best, the city might have a new partner for redevelopment and artistic projects.

@FlipSidePA; 771-2051

Public forum

The community is invited to a forum with Artspace and city officials 7 p.m. Feb. 13 in City Council Chambers at York City Hall, 101 S. George St., York.

Buildings in York that Artspace will tour

Bond building, East King Street

Keystone Colorworks building, North Beaver Street

F.W. Woolworth building, West Market Street

Pullman Apartments, North George Street

American Legion, East Princess Street

Private properties