ArtSpace Maynard asks Select Board for a long-term lease

A long-term lease — at least 10 years — will help ArtSpace get back up and running and is essential to its fundraising efforts, Gail Erwin told the Maynard Select Board at its April 5 meeting.

“For more than 20 years, ArtSpace has been a good steward of our building, supporting operating costs and maintenance,” Erwin said.

As chairman of ArtSpace’s board, Erwin has worked to bring the building up to code so it can reopen to tenants. Maynard’s building inspector revoked the occupancy permit and ordered the majority of the building closed on August 20 after finding multiple fire code violations.

ArtSpace relied on rental income from studio tenants to take care of the old building, Erwin said. Because 70% of tenants are no longer in their studio, rental income has fallen from $25,400 per month in September 2021 to $9,000 per month.

Over the years they managed to save $150,000, some of which was used to pay for utilities – $6,256 in March alone – snow removal costing $6,300 and $4,600 for the maintenance of fire systems, elevator inspections, repair of pipes and other items.

They spent $4,500 to have digital floor plans made for the architect and contractor. They hired architect Glenn Davis of Hudson and, after soliciting three bids from contractors, hired Jay Murray, of Middlesex Building and Preservation of Maynard.

Work on the building began March 28 and will be completed in three phases, so studios can reopen as hallways are repaired. The building commissioner has already approved this method, Erwin said. She expects the first phase, which includes the first floor, to be completed by mid-June.

A fundraising committee hopes to raise $400,000 and has already raised $30,000, mostly from Artspace tenants. They hope to receive a $150,000 grant, which they will have to match, and say Senator Jamie Eldridge has earmarked $50,000 in ARPA funds for ArtSpace, she said.

She urged the Select Board to commit to a long-term lease, saying it would help fundraising efforts.

“Donors want to see that ArtSpace is safe in our building. Our ability to raise funds to match the Cultural Facilities Grant and complete construction in a timely manner depends on it. I understand that even if you support ArtSpace, you may be reluctant because you’re not sure we can do the repairs. We can and we will,” Erwin said.

Erwin said they are also looking at ways to bring seniors into the building.

She noted that there is a classroom that can be made available for seniors, designated parking for the disabled, a ramp to access the building, and an elevator.

“I think there’s a committee looking at options for the Council on Aging,” she said.

Related:ArtSpace Maynard Begins Fundraising Efforts to Pay for Old Building Renovations

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The select board agreed to discuss leasing options at the April 12 executive session.

“We are all in this together to do what is best for our community. We just have to work together and it will happen, said Select Board Chairman David Gavin.

Michael J. Chiaramonte