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Artists Purchase Vacant Land For $1.15 Million In Melrose To Develop “ArtCondo”

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A consortium of New York City artists, tired of being pushed out of neighborhoods across the city as they gentrify, banded together—along with their finances—and purchased a prime piece of real estate in South Bronx neighborhood of Melrose for $1,150,000 last month to develop a vacant lot into a 7 story condo for artists.

The lot, located at 368 E 152nd Street is just 3 short blocks to the 2 and 5 line at 3rd Avenue and 149th Street and sits adjacent to a NYCHA building with a senior center.

Michelle Gambetta, founder of ArtCondo who also happens to be a real estate agent, says they are hoping to break ground as early as April on the 20 unit condominium development that will also include workspaces for artists in the basement and a community facility of undetermined use as of yet.

According to the organization’s website, 

“ArtCondo is a community-driven real estate enterprise that helps creative individuals purchase and develop buildings collectively, in partnership with neighborhood residents. We help creative workers leverage their collective buying power and sweat equity to create mixed-income creative communities which are effectively interwoven with surrounding neighborhoods.

ArtCondo’s overall purpose is to help New York City’s working artists to become financially stable property owners anchored in their communities, so they can continue to enrich the city’s cultural heritage without fear of losing their housing and/or workspace.”

Right now, depending on size, the units were looking at a price tag of $175,000 to $700,000 which is above anything else selling in the area with the exception of BronxBricks, the first condo conversion in South Bronx back in 2007.

Gambetta’s hope is that this approach can somehow help artists get spaces as gentrification continues pushing prices up but at these price points for the units, which still isn’t a definite, it will be out of reach for most Bronx artists.

Prospective qualifying purchasers will be required to put down an all cash down payment.

As it currently stands, the original artists who pooled their resources are not from Bronx (although Michelle Gambetta’s family goes back three generations in our borough)  and many local residents question who is this really for? Who will it benefit at those prices?

Gambetta wants as many local artists and creatives to inquire on how to get in on the development.

While the concept in theory sounds great, this will only speed up gentrification and continue to push values above market rate at speculative prices and in turn, further out of reach of Bronxites.

To learn more, head on over to ArtCondo’s website and feel free to reach out to Michelle Gambetta.

For more information about the ArtCondo, please visit here.

Current view of the site follows below.

 

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Mohammed Ademo

is a digital media student at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. He is covering Morrisania for the BronxInk.org. Ademo previously worked as a community organizer and activist. He is also the founder of OPride.com, a website that aggregates news about his home country of Ethiopia.