New Lafayette apartments for artists to open in February
LAFAYETTE — New apartments that will offer artists an affordable place to live and work downtown are scheduled to open early next year.
The Studios at LWG is taking shape in a 1920s-era brick warehouse on Olivier Street.
A $1.7 million renovation that is scheduled to be complete by year’s end will fill the old warehouse with 15 one- and two-bedroom rental units with studio-style open floor plans.
Musicians, painters, dancers and other artists will be given preference.
“You have to show that you are either working as an artist or, if that’s not your full-time job, that it’s your avocation,” said Rebekke Miller, who is helping oversee the project as program coordinator for the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority.
Artists who hope to secure one of the downtown rentals will need to make their case.
Applicants must submit a résumé, samples of artistic work, and an artist statement that outlines the potential renter’s artistic commitment and plans to further develop his or her craft.
Miller said a committee of area artists will review the applications to verify eligibility.
Seven of the available units will be rented at market rates — about $700 — and the other eight will be reserved for moderate-income renters with rates determined by a sliding scale based on income, Miller said.
Downtown Development Authority CEO Nathan Norris said the artist studios will bring a welcome group downtown while at the same time put a vacant historic building back into play.
“It brings great value both in terms of the people and the place,” Norris said. “... Lafayette has very few historic warehouses or historic buildings in the core of the city. I am pleased to see it just as a renovation project.”
The warehouse was built in 1925 and for many years was the home of Lafayette Wholesale Grocery — the “LWG” in Studios at LWG.
The building at 114 Olivier St. has been vacant for several years and was last used in the 1990s to house a private collection of antique cars, according to information from the city-parish Planning, Zoning and Codes Department.
Norris, who has made a priority of increasing residential offerings downtown, said the new artist studios also will add much-need living space for the area.
“Our goal from the very beginning of this project was to create affordable urban housing opportunities for area artists. The downtown cultural district is thriving, and our artists want to be in the middle of it,” said Chairman John Arceneaux, of the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority, in an announcement about the project Tuesday.
The financing authority is a self-supporting public authority that makes money through financing and investments and uses the proceeds to help pay for public projects.
The authority also owns the 73-unit Uptown Lofts on the edge of downtown.
For anyone interested in an apartment at the Studios at LWG, a meeting on the application process and eligibility requirements is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, in the resident lounge of the Uptown Lofts, 519 S. Pierce St.
The Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority will begin accepting applications on Jan. 3 at 910 Harding St. in Lafayette.
Only the first 40 applications will be accepted, Miller said.
The apartments are scheduled to open by February, she said.