NYC artists can benefit from stagnant office market, study suggests

October 29, 2010 10:00AM

The sagging commercial real estate market represents a rare opportunity for local arts organizations to snag office space on the cheap, a new study by the Center for an Urban Future and the Rockefeller Foundation suggests. Jonathan Bowles, the study’s author, told the Wall Street Journal that the city should issue requests for proposals from property owners who would convert vacant real estate into theaters or arts centers. “Building owners can take advantage of the opportunity to put new tenants in their buildings, get tax incentives and low-cost financing from the city, and help address the space issue that’s been a chief threat to the city’s artistic center,” Bowles said, noting that a similar strategy used by the Dinkins administration of the early 1990s resulted in Larry Silverstein’s 120 Wall Street, which went from being a large, mostly-empty office building to a tax-exempt haven for non-profit tenants. Eric Gural, executive managing director at Newmark Knight Frank, also pointed to 520 Eighth Avenue, where the Alliance of Resident Theatres has a 50-year lease at below market-rate that saves its landlord the headaches and costs associated with constantly finding and replacing tenants for the space. [WSJ]