On Thursday, May 20, elected officials, local business and nonprofit leaders and Pullman-area community members convened to mark the official grand opening of the Pullman Artspace Lofts development at S. Langley Aveune and E. 112th Street. After nearly a decade of planning and construction, the development is notable for being the first multifamily development in Pullman in 60 years, stakeholders said.
The formal completion of the Artspace Lofts comes as the Pullman neighborhood has witnessed a noticeable uptick in new development and investment over the last several years. A handful of major industrial developments have brought new jobs and big names to the far south side neighborhood and an overhaul of the former Pullman Company Administrative Building and Clock Tower by the National Park Service will serve as the new visitors center of the Pullman National Monument.
But the Artspace Lofts started as an initiative from community members to see vacant buildings renovated while also creating room for more residents. The development was done in conjunction between the nonprofit Minnesota-based real estate developer Artspace, the Pullman-focused Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives development company and Pullman Arts. Architecture firm Stantec did master planning and design for the project.
“We started getting together and one step after another, we did our own artist survey and our first president came across Artspace, so we talked to them and they said that we had a really good survey,” said Ann Alspaugh, a Pullman resident and member of the Pullman Arts organization. “And then we connected with Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives and then we moved forward to look for a site and ended up with this one because we had the opportunity to restore the two book-end properties that were built in the 1880s and the empty site in between which has been vacant since the early 1930s.”
The development began leasing the artist lofts back in September 2019 with its first move-ins taking place that November. The initial rents were between $625 and $900 per month. While residents already occupied the Artspace Lofts, Thursday’s event was to mark the end of construction on the vintage buildings at the ends of the development.
Beyond the fact that the development represents the first multi-unit construction in decades, its intentional in the sense of fostering small business and a helping to establish Pullman as a budding arts community.
“We really work on behalf of communities that either want to maintain or attract creative enterprise and creative people because we know that artists are the ones who can reflect on what’s happening in the world and help us see what’s happening,” said Kathleen Kvern, a senior vice president with Artspace. “So when we were approached by Pullman Arts, we agreed that it would be a fabulous project.”
The completed development features 38 artist lofts, a common gallery/exhibition space, and other community spaces.
“All of the partners had a vested interest in being inclusive with who lives in the building, so there’s a wide range of creatives that are in this space,” said Frankye Payne, president of the Pullman Arts organization. “But there’s also an affordable housing component which I think makes it the most dynamic [developments]. I think that’s one of the bigger takeaways about Pullman is that it is a landmark community but there is still new development that includes everyone.”
Floor plans and leasing information for the Pullman Artspace Lofts can be found on the development’s official website.