Wisconsin

Grand River Station an artists’ haven, too

If you’re an artist used to living in a tiny apartment or a dark basement, get ready for something different. At Grand River Station, there are 11 live-work spaces, and they feature large windows, lots of light and airiness.

Is that what artists want?

It must be, because six of those live-work spaces along with other apartments have already been rented, said Denise Loveland, president of Horizon Management Groups.

“Our first 20 people are moving in this weekend,” she said, so it will be fun to see the building fill up.

Artist Marti Schwem worked with clay Wednesday in one of the live-work spaces. Though she was positioned in the wide entry area, she had a clear view of the Cass Street bridge out the wide span of windows on the west side of the building.

“I would think for a young person just out of school, it would have an advantageous opportunity,” she said, especially since the rent charge is on a sliding scale dependent on income level, with some renting for as low as $307. Of the 92 available apartments, 63 are part of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program.

Tim Kabat, now of Downtown Mainstreet Inc., was with the city planning department when this project was born. He worked with the arts community through the years to make sure there was an arts component in the building.
“We have artists working in the transit center. It’s a great day.”

Artists Lynn Burgess and Margaret Ewert were working in another of the live-work spaces.

“It’s not a regular apartment — it’s an art space,” Ewert said.

Burgess said she and other members of her drawing group were happy to move their monthly drawing session to Grand River Station Wednesday for this event. They were among the first to see and experience the spaces.

The space that impressed everybody on Wednesday was the fourth floor rooftop garden. As winded folks walked out of the fourth-floor stairwell, it was just a short walk down the hallway to a little park complete with trees, perennials, lawn and grasses. With blue skies and sunshine, it wasn’t hard to imagine this as the favorite place of residents.

Below, on ground level, people checked out bus schedules and saw where buses would drive through the complex.

With artists, city officials and the curious milling about the station, the joint was jumping with music and lots of excited chatter.

Toni Asher, executive director of the Pump House, said she has waited a long time for this.

“It is beautiful. It’s a very good neighbor to have. I’m very big on collaboration,” she said, so she’s anxious to see what kind of connections and projects they can make with Grand River Station.

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