Oddfellows Buyer Speaks

The buyer of the Oddfellows Hall on Cap Hill put out a press release today. {See my earlier post on the subject a couple entries down.} Not a lot of hard information in there, but clearly some cautionary words for the building's arts tenants from new owner Ted Schroth of GTS Development. Quoth he:

?Paying a market rate for the building that will not be torn down creates the economic reality of having to raise rents in order to make retaining the building feasible from an investment standpoint. We hope to collaborate with some of the existing large tenants in finding creative ways to cope with this mutually beneficial solutions [sic]. We are sensitive to their situations and look forward to continuing to work together with them as we explore creative solutions to try to retain the arts culture at the Odd Fellows Lodge."

Hmmm. Hard to see how a modern-dance studio, an acting school, a swing-dance ballroom, a little black-box theater, a handful of arts administration offices, etc. are going to be able to cough up enough money to make a real estate developer's purchase of a giant building on Capitol Hill pencil out. And retaining an "arts culture" is nice. But probably less challenging than having actual arts tenants.

Schroth reminds people that "Sensitivity to history and design were a driving focus to us at Trace Lofts / Trace North, and critical to the success of that project." But making sure to preserve the retro, semi-industrial touches that give an old building condo cachet is one thing. Indeed it's a good way to preserve an "arts culture" in a building that no artist could possibly afford. Renovation of historic shells is great, and certainly far preferable to most of the new crap being built. But Oddfellows presents a very different case.

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