Comment 73504

By Imperial (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2012 at 16:07:54

Howdy RTH Readers

My name is Jeremy and I've been doing basically this for the past 8 years in our community. We've worked with the private sector to develop over 70,000 SF of space in otherwise underutilized and vacant space in Hamilton for creative tenants - everything from artists to architects, cafes to film production studios.

There are some major differences here, primarily the short-term nature of the space that New Castle offers and the willingness of property owners involved to actually rent out their vacant space.

I've toured upwards of 50 vacant properties in Hamilton over the past 10 years. Even after successfully tenanting hundreds of studios I'm still confronted with building owners who would rather leave their space vacant, those who are only will to rent our rat holes for $20/SF, or building owners you actually cannot reach - completely detached from their holdings.

The new vacant building registry may decrease the incidents of the later group, but it will likely only lead to more knowledge about people who don't care about their buildings enough to tenant them.

Our work has created over 100 studios in our community, generated well in excess of $100,000 in property tax for the City of Hamilton, and over $1M in rental revenue for the private sector. It works. It revives buildings. It builds legitimate, safe, and professional space for artists and creative businesses in our community.

In a few weeks we'll be launching our new branding and website which has an increased emphasis on our role in developing space with and for creativity in Hamilton and neighbouring communities. I encourage you to get involved, support local models that work, and fix our community as Glen Norton proudly says "one brick, one building at a time".

Jeremy Freiburger
Imperial Cotton Centre for the Arts

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