Artist Space Pop-up at Roslindale Substation

Artist Space Pop-up at Roslindale Substation

HBI welcomes Spaceus, a MIT-based startup, to the Roslindale substation at 4228 Washington Street. Spaceus connects artists looking for studio space with landlords looking to fill vacant spaces. Layering this demand with a community’s desire of a vibrant neighborhood, Spaceus is uniquely qualified to operate their pop-up co-working space.

For the artist community, finding affordable workspace around Boston is a continuing challenge.  The increased demand for artist space combined with closing down of existing studio spaces has resulted in long waitlists for the shrinking number of artist studios in the city.  The sharp increase in rents for studios space across the city has resulted in artists being priced out of work spaces.

For landlords, it is difficult to keep up with the rapidly evolving needs for space.  Vacancies impact the landlord’s bottom line doubly, due to loss in revenue and additional cost of maintenance and upkeep that could have been paid by the tenant.  According to Spaceus’ research, businesses experience a 25% drop in revenue because of vacancy in their neighboring storefront. Beyond the loss of revenue to the landlord, a vacant store front contributes negatively to the neighborhood.

A landlord’s want of higher-paying tenants skews their preferences towards renting space to the generic chain stores. From vibrancy, social and diversity standpoints, communities have an affinity for independent businesses, mom-and-pop stores, and experiential concepts.

The services provided by Spaceus address the difficulties from both sides.

Spaceus exists at the intersection of the three aforementioned constituents and their concerns. Spaceus has created a multi-use venue at the Roslindale substation with the space being used for retail, co-working, studio space for visual arts and performance space for comedy, music and spoken word artists.

Both the co-working and the popup concept in retail locations have immense potential especially given the flux in the brick-and-mortar retail real estate.  Co-working and retail uses align well in a market and amenity dynamic. The co-working spaces offers its users as a market for retail, the neighboring retail to a co-working location acts as an amenity to the co-working space.  Short term rentals could be a good transitionary or stop-gap use for vacant storefronts.  While co-working spaces could be an answer to struggling retail locations, pop-ups could be helpful during periods where a property is under negotiation or under agreement prior to fit-out or occupancy.

The Spaceus team aims to have a permanent location for maker space and co working for design professionals and artists along with operating pop ups and will operate out of the Roslindale Substation location till the end of September.

The $4.8 million Substation project was conceived and undertaken by Historic Boston Inc.Roslindale Village Main Street, and Peregrine Group, and LLC of Rumford, RI. Prellwitz Chilinski Associates of Cambridge were the architect for the redevelopment project.