Affordable Real Estate for Artists (AREA)

John Barreyro (Image credit: SpaceWorks)

To ensure that artists continue to thrive and work in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in the 2015 State of the City Address a commitment to create 1,500 units of affordable housing and 500 units of artist workspaces for the cultural community over the next decade.

An inter-agency taskforce, including the Mayor’s Office, the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), Housing Preservation and Development, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) have begun to implement strategies for the equitable development of housing and workspace for artists. This initiative, known as Affordable Real Estate for Artists (AREA), will work with residents, real estate developers, cultural partners, housing agencies, and the philanthropic community to implement these goals.

DCLA, in partnership with NYCEDC and the Mayor’s Office, leads the workspace component of the AREA initiative. The goal is to ensure the creation of long-term affordable workspaces across the city that are accessible to artists of all backgrounds and are beneficial for neighborhood needs and development. City support for this mandate includes $30 million from DCLA in capital funding over the next decade and the conversion of underutilized City-owned assets for select projects.

AREA News & Updates

NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and NYC Economic Development Corporation Seek Partners for Affordable Artist Workspace Initiative

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (“DCLA”) and New York City Economic Development Corporation (“NYCEDC”) are excited to announce the respondents selected as “AREA Qualified Organizations” in connection with the Affordable Workspace for Artists (“AREA”) Request for Expression of Interest. NYCEDC and DCLA may discuss with AREA Qualified Organizations future development projects incorporating affordable artist workspace on City owned sites in the five boroughs. In addition, the below list may be shared with appropriate parties for the development of AREA and other City-led projects.

Organization Name



Gina Gibney Dance, Inc.

Developer / Operator

Spaceworks NYC, Inc.

Developer / Operator

Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden

Developer / Operator

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Inc.

Developer / Operator

Flux Factory, Inc.

Developer / Operator

Staten Island Maker Space, Inc.

Developer / Operator

Actors Fund


BRIC Arts | Media| Bklyn, Inc.


Westbeth Corporation HDFC Inc.


New Museum of Contemporary Art

Developer / Operator

NARS Foundation


Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana


Dorrance Dance


American Tap Dance Foundation


If you or your organization are interested in working with AREA Qualified Organizations, please contact us at or for more information.

The upcoming quarterly submission deadlines is February 10, 2020 Link here to download the RFEI.

Post updated: December 14, 2019

DCLA and NYCED have launched two new open calls for nonprofit arts and cultural organizations to express their capacity and interest in partnering on the city’s AREA initiative. One opportunity is specifically for organizations interested in developing and/or operating artist workspace (the RFEI); the second is a survey that seeks broadly to assess the need for artist workspace citywide. Both efforts are for informational purposes only and are not tied to specific development sites or capital funding opportunities.

1) AREA Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI)

The City is seeking to identify organizations interested in the development and/or operation of artist workspaces within the initiative’s affordability guidelines. Responses can be submitted any time and will be reviewed quarterly. Qualifying responses to the RFEI will be added to a new, regularly updated list of qualified organizations for potential inclusion in the development of future AREA and/or other City-led projects.

  • An info session for groups interested in the RFEI will be held on Feb 27, 2018. Please see the RFEI for more details.
  • First quarterly submission deadline: April 2, 2018.
  • Review the RFEI.

2) AREA Tenant Survey

DCLA is seeking to better understand the overall need for artist workspaces from organizations solely interested in utilizing (through rental, leasing, or letting, rather than developing or operating) such spaces. Responses to the brief survey can be submitted any time and will be reviewed quarterly.

Responses to the RFEI and survey are optional and entirely voluntary. All nonprofit arts and cultural organization operating within the five boroughs are invited to respond to one or both of these opportunities. Please send any questions to
Posted February 14, 2018.

NYCEDC Announces Plan to Transform Former Spofford Juvenile Detention Center Into Vibrant, Live-Work Campus

The development is anticipated to include 15,000 square feet of artist workspace.
Posted: October 27, 2016
Read more.

AREA is a long term initiative that will grow the City’s supply of affordable housing and workspace for artists over the next ten years. For information on current affordable housing opportunities, visit NYC Housing Connect, the City’s portal to search and apply for affordable housing opportunities in New York City. NYC Housing Connect allows users to:

  • Learn how to apply for affordable housing in New York City.
  • View current and upcoming housing opportunities.
  • Start, save, and complete an application for your household.
  • Apply to housing options for which you may qualify.