Denver has some great neighborhoods and the RiNo Arts District (the River North Arts District) is one of them. It was once a great “up and coming neighborhood”. No longer up and coming, now it’s just a fantastic neighborhood. But now it does struggle to stay artistic.
Higher rents and redevelopment
As with any up and coming neighborhood, the first come in and find cheap rents. But as the neighborhood grew in popularity it became less and less affordable for those who first discovered it. The first artists who moved into RiNo are now being forced out by higher rents. They are also being forced out by building owners who want to redevelop the buildings.
Redeveloping RiNo Arts District
The artists in the area see this with some sadness. They acknowledge that redeveloping the buildings makes them more attractive, but it also changes the character of the neighborhood. As one artist put it “It seems like they’re making RiNo more attractive physically — all of which is fine — but it makes it less funky, less interesting…”
Working with developers
Some developers have said they would help the artists find new spaces, but the likelihood the new spaces will be in RiNo is minimal. The art district’s board will try and make it easier to keep them there. They are trying to work with the developers to make sure they make affordable spaces for the artists so they aren’t forced out. For instance, an old Jewish temple at 2400 Curtis Street is in the process of being redeveloped into Temple Arts Denver. While not quite in RiNo proper, the building developer is willing to help and wants to help artists stay in the area.
Art spaces in RiNo Arts District
The Denver Arts and Venues is working with a nonprofit group, Artspace, to find places to create affordable art spaces in the RiNo Arts District. It’s important to do since the existing spaces, like Ironton are full and have a long waiting list with very few openings.
For more about this issue, please read the Denver Post article, Artists facing higher rents, looming redevelopment in RiNo in Denver