LATEST NEWS

Bed-Stuy Says Goodbye To A Three Decade Old Artist Haven As Gentrification Takes Hold

Despite the loss of more artist housing in Bed-Stuy, other similar, larger buildings are thriving.

By Jeff Vasishta March 20, 2017

In a perfect world New York’s developers, should consider taking a chunk of their sizable fortunes to promote the careers of the painters, performers and writers who have allowed them to make the money they have. The residents at 35 Claver Place in Bed-Stuy, a brick building which has been a special work-live studio for local artists for the past 32 years, but is now being sold for $14.2 million, would surely appreciate it.

The property, which has 13 residential units and two commercial ones is being sold to developer Cheskie Weisz’s CW Realty, with all the tenant’s leases having expired. It’s an all too familiar story. The cycle of gentrification is dependent on artists— or pioneers as they are often referred to — moving into war torn neighborhoods, usually minority inhabited, and signaling to other, less adventurous souls, that a neighborhood is safe for them to move to as well. When a tipping point is reached, the developers then move in and build properties that are not affordable for the people living there. Artists and minorities alike, then vacate en masse.

Related: The Most Expensive Brownstone In Bed-Stuy Is On The Market for $3.25 Million

Although condos are now becoming popular in Bed-Stuy, brokers for the deal, Marcus and Millichap told Bisnow LLC that the owners plan to keep the property as a rental. For many it marks the end of an era. Sellers Anthony Chamberlin and Gina Inverso created the artists’ space out of a former warehouse in 1985. Now artists are forced to move further out of Brooklyn to pursue their craft.

“Sunset Park and Bushwick have large industrial buildings, and those are probably the last places for artists to go. Ridgewood is now all houses,” said a creative producer and product designer who lived on the fourth floor of the building, Teresa Herrmann. “Art is a difficult field when you also need business training. That is what you need to be successful; and a cultural following.”

The commercial spaces in the building were used to host expositions, music events and open houses showcasing the artists’ work.

The Claver Pace property is, of course, not the only artist housing in New York City. Probably the best known is Wesbeth Artists’ Housing, a complex of 13 buildings (formerly the site of Bell Laboratories, 1868-1966) which opened in 1970. It contains 384 live-work spaces for artists of all disciplines and their families. On October 25, 2011, the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission unanimously designated Westbeth Artists Housing a New York City landmark. which means developers cannot buy it and remodel. Westbeth also contains large and small commercial spaces, performance and rehearsal spaces and artists studios.

Related: Brooklyn Brokers’ Turf Wars Get Vicious As Competition Increases

Other such buildings include the recently revamped El Barrio’s Artspace PS109 which, at a cost of $52 million, has transformed an abandoned public school building in East Harlem into an arts facility with 89 units of affordable live/work housing for artists and their families and 10,000 square feet of complementary space for arts organizations.

Not to be outdone, Harlem is opening affordable housing for musicians at 125th St across from the world-famous Apollo Theater. Further north the Bronx Heritage Music Center is coming to Melrose Commons for elderly Bronx based musicians. Up to 45 units in the Bronx Commons complex developed by the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation — or WHEDco — is being set aside for the project.

“We see the elder artist as being so extremely vulnerable,” WHEDco’s Julia Roberts told DNA Info, noting that the organization hopes to get the go-ahead from the city to target elderly local musicians especially as South Bronx real estate is on the rise.

“A lot of them are in poor health and have a hard time earning any income,” she said. “We really would like to preserve their music, their legacy, and help them continue to work as long as they can, so they can continue to have influence on younger generations.”

Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

  • AGORAFY
    Stefano Boeri, the architect mastermind behind the famous plant-covered skyscrapers, is now designing Forest Cities in Liuzhou, China. #ForestCity #China https://goo.gl/PsTUwv
  • AGORAFY
    Auction is the second scheduled in a month for a One57 unit and it could set a NYC foreclosure record. #BillionairesRow #Foreclosures https://goo.gl/NZ3zqD
  • AGORAFY
    Once a couch-surfing website, Airbnb moves on to luxury properties, further disrupting hospitality industry. #Airbnb #Luxury https://goo.gl/7TpLk6
Four Countries To Retire In With $200K In Savings—And How Much Real Estate Costs There
Ever dreamed of retiring abroad? You know, affordable healthcare, better climate, more positive news—becoming an expat seems like an enticing option, especially one you no…
While Other Real Estate Platforms Start Charging Agents $3-Per-Day Exposure Fee, Agorafy Remains Accessible To All
Real Estate searching platform are always finding news ways to diversify their revenues models. Case in point—on Tuesday July 18, Streeteasy, one of New York…
Is Real Estate Crowdfunding The Fix That Urban Housing In America Really Needs?
Saving money for a down payment? One can only hope. Most millennial in their twenties or thirties are mortified that they might never be able…
Brooklyn And Queens’ Real Estate Sub-Markets Continue Their Ascent To The New Heights
So, the sales prices in Brooklyn and Queens hit record highs. Again. Just like they did in December 2016 and at the end of this…
The Economy Of Car Services And Delivery Apps Might Be Making NYC Less Eco-Friendly
Living in an eco-friendly neighborhood is a good thing. And, as it always the case with the good things, it also costs more. High rents…
Building Communities: What The U.S. Developers Should Learn From Soho China
As our world emerges into the new period of globalization and technology, some of the most important by-products of this process are buildings that have…
Five Reasons Why All Entrepreneurs Must Keep Their Eyes On China
It is hard to overestimate the importance of Chinese influence on the modern global economy. Carving out a place in Chinese market and winning over…
Airbnb Up Their Game With A New Luxury Tier Featuring Mansions And Villas
Airbnb is about to seriously up their game. First, the company started testing a new service called Select in an attempt to push accommodation listings…