A group of nonprofit theatre companies in New York City will have new, low-rent administrative homes in the coming months thanks A.R.T./New York's January 25 purchase of a five-story office building in Brooklyn.
The purchase made office space available to member companies of the Alliance of Resident Theatres (A.R.T./New York), the service and advocacy organization for 375 nonprofit theatres in the five boroughs.
When the purchase was being mulled in fall 1999, membership was surveyed to see if companies would move to Brooklyn, and response was strong enough to pursue the property. The building was bought outright.
Office rental to member companies in the 1929 building at 138 S. Oxford Street is $12 per square foot (which includes heat and electric), according to A.R.T./New York spokesman Mark Rossier. The building is rented to capacity already, and occupancy begins in March.
"Part of our mission has always been to help strengthen organizations, administratively," said Rossier. "This is clearly an important step for our members." Some of the 18 companies moving to Brooklyn are leaving high-rent, small-space situations in Manhattan, and others will be able to take their theatre business out of their apartments, allowing for breathing space and a more professional work atmosphere.
Rents will average $300-$400 per month, with the average lease being about 300 square feet. Tenants are asked commit to a three-year lease. Phone, fax and internet access are offered, just like any office building, Rossier said.
There are no performance spaces in the building, formerly the home of the Visiting Nurses Association of Brooklyn, but a meeting room will be converted to an hourly-rental rehearsal space and two more rentable studio spaces will be built in the basement.
The purchase was made possible by a grant of $1 million from the New York Community Trust-LuEsther T. Mertz Advised Fund, $150,000 from the Booth Ferris Foundation and $150,000 from Chase Manhattan Bank.
The building is four blocks from the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and is near the Atlantic Avenue subway. The area is considered downtown Brooklyn, although it borders Fort Greene and the BAM LDC.
For information about A.R.T./New York, call (212) 244 6667.
-- By Kenneth Jones