Business and Economics

State Funds Paint Future for Michigan City Artist Lofts

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February 27, 2014 — Michigan City, Ind. is set to attract more area artists after winning funding for a first-of-its-kind living space in the state.

“This award capitalizes on the energy of the [local] arts district,” says Michigan City councilman Richard Murphy.

Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann announced state funding of $1.4 million in annual rental housing tax credits to develop Uptown Artists Lofts in downtown Michigan City.

The LaPorte County-based project was one of 15 multi-family housing developments funded in the Hoosier state out of a pool of 44 applicants.

“It’s an incredible thing for Michigan City,” says Craig Phillips, planning director for Michigan City. “We are incredibly excited about the potential. It is an opportunity for us to revitalize an area of the city that has long been in need of attention and additional investment.”

Phillips says the investment is one in both affordable housing and the arts. The proposed 44 units will be live/work lofts intent on providing affordable living in downtown Michigan City. The ground floor of the Warren Building — the project site — will also be designated a community arts and gallery space.

“So, there are opportunities for the community to be able to engage in the arts as well,” he says.

The lofts are the first Indiana project from Artspace — a Minneapolis-based company known for flipping has-been buildings into arts infrastructure. The company runs 35 affordable arts facilities nationwide.

City officials say the money is a tax credit applied annually for the next ten years. Murphy, whose district includes downtown Michigan City, says the credits will build the budding art community already rooted in the area.

“The arts movement in Michigan City was well underway,” he says, “but this project takes it to the next level in a big way because part of what was holding back Michigan City was this iconic, vacant six-story structure and now life will be breathed into that structure.”

Phillips says the project is set to break ground later this year.

By: Hilary Powell


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