Two Trees announces DUMBO Cultural Space Subsidy Program

June 18, 2014 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
DUMBO artists are getting a new home
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Two Trees Management Co. on Monday announced the launch of the Cultural Space Subsidy Program, a new program to open below-market space in DUMBO to a wide group of arts and culture tenants. For more than 30 years, arts, culture and non-profit organizations and professionals have found a home in DUMBO thanks to greatly reduced or free rent in Two Trees buildings. As the neighborhood grew in desirability, Two Trees’ commitment to supporting these groups did not waver, with roughly 10 percent of its commercial space in DUMBO provided at below market rates.

The new Cultural Space Subsidy Program will formalize and bring transparency to the process. Artists and groups will be chosen based on their commitment to community engagement and social impact, and their quality of work. Through the program, Two Trees will maintain the amount of space — 100,000 square feet — it provides at below market rents with half reserved for art galleries and long-term community groups and half made available through this new program.

“Two Trees is committed to cultivating a vibrant community in DUMBO, and the arts and culture are part of the neighborhood’s fabric,” said Lisa Kim, cultural affairs director at Two Trees. “As DUMBO’s popularity and the city’s commercial rents — rise, it has been impossible to keep up with the huge demand for affordable space. I am thrilled that we are launching a program that creates a formal application process that will open DUMBO up to a wider group of arts and culture tenants, and make the neighborhood more competitive in our city’s art scene.” 

Two Trees is dedicated to maintaining a diverse and creative group of commercial tenants that underscores DUMBO’s identity as a neighborhood where innovation, entrepreneurship, and community engagement are celebrated. Space will be awarded to applicants that best demonstrate their capabilities and intent to provide a social benefit to Brooklyn and a proven track record of community engagement. Two Trees will maintain the amount of space it provides at below market rents — more than 100,000 square feet — with half reserved for art galleries and long-term community groups such as St. Ann’s Warehouse, Smack Mellon, and the DUMBO BID, and half made available through this new program. More than 50 arts and cultural groups currently operate in Two Trees space in DUMBO.

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Groups chosen through the formal application process will receive three-year leases at $12/foot, in buildings that command market rents of more than $40 per foot. When current leases expire, existing tenants who are eligible will be able to apply to extend their leases, and those who are selected will actually receive a rent decrease from current below market rents to $12.

The program will be open to arts, education, and community focused groups, primarily, but not limited to, 501c3 nonprofit organizations. Professional artists with a strong exhibition history or community focused practice are also eligible.

The commercial office and studio spaces range from 700 to 4,000 square feet, most with natural light and high ceilings. All tenants that participate in the program will share in the amenities enjoyed by all Two Trees commercial tenants, including access to freight elevators, communal conference rooms, and high-speed internet. 

The Two Trees Cultural Space Subsidy Program will have open applications that are reviewed annually. Applications for the inaugural year of the program can be found at www.twotreesny.com/philanthropy and are due by July 31. 


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