For Legacy Commercial, the decision to let Velocity dance center put the empty Value Village building back into motion as community arts space V2 was easy. Legacy didn’t want an empty building, and the long time Capitol Hill landowner did want to do something good for the neighborhood, Legacy’s Jeff Calvert tells CHS.
Leasing the space, even at a reduced rent, gives Legacy what the business majors like to call a “win-win.” Arts groups get some much needed space, and the property owners (and community at large) don’t have to deal with the problems that can come from a vacant building. Legacy has owned property in the area since the mid-90s, and Calvert said the company saw an opportunity to be a good neighbor.
“We wanted to support a neighborhood resource,” he said.
So Legacy connected with the city-backed Capitol Hill Arts District and arranged to allow the group to use the space on a temporary basis at a reduced rent. In this case, temporary likely means sometime through early or mid-2017, Calvert said, when Legacy hope to go ahead with a long-planned, reduced-in-scope development.
The deal came about when the arts district was looking for a space to host an affordability conference, said Tonya Lockyer, co-chair of the arts district and artistic director for Velocity. Someone suggested the Value Village building, which has been empty since November, and the deal for the pop-up arts center came together over about a month and a half, she said.
“With all the artists being displaced right now, we didn’t want it to be empty,” Lockyer said.
The building has three 12,000-square-foot areas, and Lockyer noted that the dancers would be looking forward to putting those spaces to use. While arts funding is tough to come by for anyone, dancers in particular need larger amounts of space than most other artists, she said.
But the building won’t be just for dance, hopefully. Lockyer said they are in the midst of the permitting process, so the group must wait before they can start using the space in earnest. Once the permitting goes through, Lockyer said she hopes V2 can host performances, readings, and exhibitions. V2 would also like to hold events in conjunction with the Second Thursday art walks, and more. For now dance artist Kate Wallich is there as an artist-in-residence.
In addition, V2 will lease out some storage space, and welcome One Reel, the people who put together Bumbershoot, to set up their offices there.
Plans to include Hugo House as a major component in the V2 activity had to be put off, however, with the literary nonprofit focused on its temporary move to First Hill while it awaits the construction of a six-story development — that will incorporate a new 10,000 square-foot writer’s center home for Hugo — at the site of its longtime home on 11th Ave.
If everything comes together just right, V2 may be open for some of the performances in early April. The group needs help cleaning up the space and preparing the facility to make it useable. Lockyer said that anyone interested in volunteering to help, or in renting some space should contact Velocity at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking forward to 2017, plans for redevelopment on the block have been downsized, Calvert said. Legacy will not be including the landmarks-protected White Motor Company building, which houses the offices of The Stranger and the The Rhino Room at street level. But Legacy still plans to redevelop the site of the Value Village building and its adjacent parking lot with office space and ground floor retail — within the guidelines of the site’s historic designation, which unlike The Stranger building, only extends to the V2 building’s exterior.