Artist bets on Red Hook for arts center

January 19, 2012 09:30AM

The artist who bought the 24,000-square-foot former Time Moving and Storage warehouse in Red Hook for $3.7 million has ambitious plans to transform it into an arts center, the New York Times reported.

Even for Dustin Yellin, whose sculptures typically sells to collectors and celebrities for $25,000 to $100,000 and sometimes garners as much as $250,000, the venture is a risky one. Yellin does have some background in real estate as his mother is a developer in Aspen, Colo. and he bought a 2,500-square-foot Van Brunt Street warehouse in Red Hook for his studio that he now leases to Stumptown Coffee Roasters.

But he’ll likely have to renovate his new facility, at 149 Pioneer Street, at a cost of more than $2 million, and he expects the monthly burden to exceed $50,000. Moreover, many well-received arts centers, like the Chelsea Art Museum, the Knitting Factory and Exit Art, have been forced to downsize or close as costs rise. The Times compares Yellin’s vision to P.S. 1, but noted that the Long Island City center was developed by Alanna Heiss, who had significant experience transforming decaying buildings into art studios.

Aware of the risk, Yellin counters that Red Hook, with its relatively cheap rents and distance from Manhattan, is the perfect setting for a grass-roots arts center. [NYT]