Inside the Artscape Triangle Lofts
Artscape's new Triangle Lofts are the product of a novel partnership with Urbancorp, Active 18 and the City of Toronto. Located at 38 Abell Street (near Queen and Dovercourt) in the same building that houses the Westside Gallery Lofts, the first three floors of the 18-storey structure have been reserved for artist live/work spaces, 48 of which are ownership units and 20 which are for rental.
Despite the fact that they're located above and below one another, the Triangle Lofts and the Westside Gallery Lofts are, however, totally separate. To keep the costs down for the artist units, the Triangle Lofts are accessible via a separate entrance and the Artscape residents don't have access to the amenities of the more expensive development. When I first heard this, the segregation sounded a bit odd, but it's really just one among a number of cost savings measures.
As is standard with Artscape properties, the units on offer -- be they ownership or rental -- come in at well below market price and were made available only to full-time/professional artists (see the criteria for such a designation here). The ability to do this is partially the result of the fact that Urbancorp sold Artscape their portion of the building for a remarkable $8.4 million. According to Artscape, the idea behind the affordable lofts is to "[preserve] vital artist work and living space in the Queen West Triangle" and to encourage "a mixed-use community, supporting a range of incomes in the arts community."
So what are they like? I didn't get a look at a wide variety of units, but artist Lauren Goldman was nice enough to show me around her place, which is a 590 square foot rental unit that goes for a mind-bogglingly good $740 a month.
I suspect that the photos tell most of the story. The units are spacious and slick, but not tricked out with overly luxurious items like stainless steel appliances or gas fireplaces. I'm not sure if I'd call them no-nonsense -- there is, after all, a dishwasher -- but it's obvious that Artscape has tried to manage costs in putting them together.
Along with the artist live/work spaces, the Triangle Lofts feature a 1,100 public gallery space, which will be known as the Artscape Triangle Gallery and host regular shows. This strikes me as a necessary addition given the nature of the project, and will offer an opportunity for some of the residents to show their work while engaging the community at large -- which is really the whole point.
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