The New Rochelle Business Improvement District’s Downtown Artist Spaces Program helps match artists and arts businesses looking for affordable studios with property owners struggling to fill vacant upper-floor space. By working to fill these under-utilized properties, the BID is not only assisting the individuals involved in the leases, but is also helping to create a vibrant arts scene in downtown New Rochelle.

After a successful rehabilitation of 10,000 square feet at 81 Centre Street last year, the BID is now ready for phase two at 2 Division Street, where the Artist Spaces Program will help develop 7,000 square feet of vacant space into 14 new studios. The BID is also helping the owners of 2 Division Street renovate their storefronts through the BID Facade Program.

As Ralph DiBart, Executive Director of the BID, has explained, promoting the arts in our community increases the diversity of activity downtown and therefore attracts more people. It’s a positive and self-reinforcing cycle for New Rochelle — by activating vacant space, we strengthen the downtown real estate market, and by attracting artists to New Rochelle, we enhance the city’s cultural vitality and overall economic health.

The BID has secured limited funds for matching grants from the New York State Main Street Program in order to help finance the renovations and keep rents affordable for artists. The first studios at 2 Division should be ready for new occupants this summer.