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Cornerstones Builds New Co-op Housing for Artists on Alberta Avenue

June 30, 2011

Sixteen new apartment suites for artists will open with the help of a $2.4 million investment by the City of Edmonton and the Government of Alberta through the Cornerstones Affordable Housing Program.

ArtsHab Alberta Avenue is a new $3.7 million affordable housing cooperative building for artists that includes one-bedroom and studio suites as well as ground floor commercial space occupied by the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts, which opened in 2010. An artists’ co-operative will manage the residential units under a 50-year lease and make the units available to people involved in artistic endeavours at a maximum of 85 per cent of average market rents. Potential tenants are encouraged to apply online at Arts Habitat Association.

The project will increase the supply of local affordable housing and help the City of Edmonton and the Alberta Avenue community in their joint efforts to revitalize the 118th Avenue area.

"Edmonton's arts community is one of our city's great strengths," said Mayor Stephen Mandel. "ArtsHab Alberta Avenue is an innovative new building that will make housing and studio space available to those who work in the arts. It will help artists continue to enhance the rich fabric of our city by giving them a fitting place from which to share their vibrant and creative vision. This project is about revitalizing communities by investing in people."

Partners in the ArtsHab Alberta Avenue project include the Arts Habitat Association, the Edmonton Inner-City Housing Society and the Artists Urban Village.

“ArtsHab is a great example of how provincial-municipal partnerships can build a better Alberta,” said Lindsay Blackett, Minister of Culture and Community Spirit. “By providing a hand up for hard-working, lower-income artists, they can be active contributors to the local economy and culture while further enriching the lives of Albertans.”

“ArtsHab Alberta Avenue is home to Edmonton’s first affordable housing co-op for artists,” says Linda Huffman, General Manager of the Arts Habitat Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding, managing and developing space for the arts.  “This project is a new cornerstone in the arts-led revitalization of 118 Avenue.  The artists who form the co-op look forward to living and working in this dynamic community.”

The City of Edmonton’s Cornerstones Plan brings communities, businesses and governments together to develop affordable housing. Created by Edmonton City Council in partnership with the Government of Alberta and community organizations, the Cornerstones program supports Council’s strategic vision to improve Edmonton’s livability and manage growth.

As of year-end in 2010, 2,542 safe, secure homes have been provided for citizens and families in need under the Cornerstones program. The program has already exceeded City Council’s goal to develop an additional 2,500 affordable homes by 2011.