Artspace Tampa Preliminary Feasibility Study (PFS) Executive Summary

Artspace Projects’ Preliminary Feasibility Study (PFS) for Tampa revealed a pressing need to address economic disparities and provide affordable housing in the region’s rapidly expanding market. With 58 active live-work facilities throughout the United States, Artspace Projects – a nonprofit that uses the tools of real estate development to create affordable places where artists can live and work as well as non-residential space for artists, arts organizations, and other creative industries – provides vast cultural and economic opportunities for Tampa.

The initiative to bring an Artspace facility to Tampa is backed by a diverse coalition of elected officials, community leaders, artists, civic organizations, and philanthropists because of its promise to help revive struggling neighborhoods, bring back affordability to rapidly gentrifying communities, provide arts-driven economic development activities, and attract visitors to the area. 

In January 2021, the consulting team at Artspace Projects concluded research findings for the Preliminary Feasibility Study (PFS) and delivered the PFS report to Artspace Tampa Initiative’s Steering Committee. Artspace Projects strongly recommended moving forward with steps toward a project in Tampa – most likely be a new, mixed-use building.

The PFS revealed:

  • There is broad community support and stakeholder engagement.

  • Tampa is a “big league” city experiencing robust economic development and a historic downtown transformation.

  • Tampa’s creative class needs an arts district with affordable, long-term live/work space that will revitalize our community, spark innovation, and add to our rich culture.

    • The scarcity of affordable space is a barrier to retaining and growing the creative sector.

    • The creative sector is deep, diverse, and eager to be a more visible and valued presence in Tampa.

    • Any new creative space project should help address regional racial and economic disparities.

    • St. Petersburg is already achieving economic success from explicitly adopting an “arts city” growth strategy and branding opportunity.

  • There are site and capital funding opportunities to explore more deeply in a recommended next predevelopment phase of work.

  • Artspace Projects is the ideal partner as the leading developer of communities for artists, with 58 vibrant properties throughout the country (without any failed projects). 

    • Artspace is a proven, trusted expert in securing and incorporating low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC) into the capital structure of its affordable housing projects, working closely with national LIHTC financial intermediaries (e.g., Raymond James Financial) and local financial institutions.

    • Artspace Memphis may provide a vision and road map of what a similar project would look like in Tampa.

  • Next step: Fund and carry out the Arts Market Study under the leadership of Artspace Consulting. (Completed July 2021 – see the final Arts Market Study)