About Midway Artist Studios
Over two intense weeks of organizing, reaching out to local supporters and elected officials, and lobbying the executor of the estate of Robert Kuehn (who had put the building up for sale in November 2013) the residents of Midway Artist Studios, in coalition with New Atlantic Development, announced that they have signed a purchase and sale agreement to acquire the historic complex of artist live/work spaces. The first step has been taken toward the goal of maintaining the building as affordable rental space for artists in perpetuity. Reaching this first step seemed impossible when the sale of the building was first announced on October 22nd.
When news of the impending sale of the property was announced, Midway residents were alarmed at the idea that a profit-motivated buyer would raise rents to levels unaffordable to working artists. Looking into the future, they were also concerned that as soon as the current deed restriction terminated, the property would be lost forever as an artist building. As a rental building, it is unique in offering artists with broad demographic range of age and experience to stay in Boston, to come to Boston, and be part of a place where ideas are shared and explored.
At this point the residents had no official voice in the process. With a record turnout the new Midway Residents' Artist Board (MRAB) was elected. The mandate was to insert Midway's voice into the process but with the board's introduction to Peter Roth, owner of New Atlantic, ambitions grew. The residents of Midway Studios quickly teamed up with New Atlantic Development, a Boston real estate company with a track record of successful arts-related and mixed-income housing projects. They assessed the situation and structured a plan for the joint acquisition of the property.
New Atlantic, working closely with the MRAB, pieced together a financing structure, working with contacts at the City of Boston, neighborhood-oriented lender Boston Community Capital, and of course the artist residents themselves. In a remarkably short period of only 72 hours, residents collectively secured pledges of over $517,000 to launch the $2.2 million dollar fund-raising effort necessary to close the acquisition.
The MRAB also instigated a statewide outreach campaign. This effort was met with immense support from the Fort Point Arts Community (FPAC), elected representatives, the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the City’s Department of Neighborhood Development, and arts institutions from around the city. Local businesses and individuals also rallied on behalf of the artist residents.
Developed by the visionary developer Robert Kuehn in collaboration with the non-profit Fort Point Cultural Coalition (FPCC), Midway Studios is located in the Channel Center complex off of A Street in the Fort Point neighborhood. Fort Point is home to the oldest and largest artist community in New England. Midway is comprised of 89 artists live/work studios and ground floor commercial spaces now leased to arts-related groups and The Club by George Foreman III, a boxing-themed fitness center. Bob Kuehn died unexpectedly in 2006 a year after Midway's creation. He left a great legacy, but the fate of the Midway was uncertain.
The Collective's offer, based on solid financial forecast, was accepted, and a purchase and sale agreement was signed with the seller. The residents of Midway Artist Studios and New Atlantic development are excited by this opportunity to secure the Midway Artists Building’s mission as an affordable rental live/work building, and a place for artists of all ages and at all levels of accomplishment to explore and share ideas, in perpetuity. We invite you to join us.