Here’s an update of our story from yesterday, which includes an interview with La Reunion president Robert Meckfessel:
Artists may soon be able to live in the Dallas Arts District. The district is home to museums and performance spaces, but rents in the area currently price most working artists out of the neighborhood. That soon could change:
- KERA Radio Report:
- Online version:
Flora Lofts, a proposed housing development, received tax credit approval this week from the state. The complex is planned for a parking lot in the middle of the district – on Flora Street between the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Meyerson Symphony Center. The tax credit will allow rents for the planned 39 units to stay below $800 a month.
“We have been waiting with baited breath for this particular step to happen, because it was important in the process,” says La Reunion president Robert Meckfessel. La Reunion will operate the Flora Loft residences. “And now that it’s happened, we’ve got some things that we need to and must and can move ahead with.”
Those things include seeking additional funding from the City of Dallas, creating architectural drawings and assembling the peer panel that will screen potential applicants. Construction could begin as early as February.
Artist renderings of the community were released in February. As we earlier reported, La Reunion will take the lead in connecting the development with the artists who might live there.
Keep reading for the full news release:
DALLAS, Texas (July 25, 2013) – The Flora Lofts’ development to provide artist housing in the heart of the Dallas Arts District has received tax credit approval from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA). The affordable artists residences and multi-use development will now proceed, with expected occupancy in mid-2015.
“We are delighted with the TDHCA’s action and look forward to making Flora Lofts an exemplary development which will attract artists and their families from a wide variety of artistic disciplines,” said Robert Meckfessel, president of La Reunion TX, the arts-oriented non-profit organization that will own and operate the Flora Loft residences.
Flora Lofts will be he first housing for artists in the Dallas Arts District, following a model that has proven successful and sustainable in other urban environments.
Live/work spaces for artists and their families have been integral to the plan for the Arts District since inception. Obtaining approval for this key part of the financing allows Flora Lofts to move forward in fulfilling that vision. The development will be located on Flora Street between Pearl and Olive.
With a broad base of support from its neighbors and the cultural institutions in the Arts District, Flora Lofts will provide living spaces for working artists and a way for them to collaborate in common spaces in the building. Flora Lofts is also expected to stimulate job creation and build new relationships in the neighborhood and the nearby downtown area.
The classic modern design of Flora Lofts will be a handsome addition to the Arts District, becoming a low-key, complimentary neighbor to other nearby edifices, including the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Meyerson Symphony Center, and the Crow Collection. Flora Lofts will offer a different price-point than nearby existing residences – one more affordable to artists and their families.
The six-story structure at 2121 Flora Street will feature upper floors that are terraced back from Flora Street, with landscaped balconies. The artists residences on the upper floors will be blended with street-level retail accessible to pedestrian traffic and also provide additional public parking.
Additionally, Flora Lofts will enable a variety of businesses to locate in the Arts District, such as a technology gallery, cafe, gastro pub and floral shop, plus others. These creative neighborhood benefits and other street level amenities will encourage patrons to come and stay in the Arts District before and after performances and visiting exhibitions.
Development leadership says the next steps – partial city funding, private financing, architectural drawings, and other elements – could be in place quickly enough to begin construction by February next year.