Affordable Artist Housing in Sacramento’s R Street Corridor

The Warehouse Artist Lofts in Sacramento’s R Street Corridor

For many artists seeking to make their mark in Sacramento’s R Street Corridor, affordable housing is a must. That’s why a handful of people pitched tents Tuesday night outside Capitol Area Development Authority offices for a chance to submit applications for the new Warehouse Artist Lofts.

The community of 116 units connects the historic Lawrence Warehouse and a new building. Residents include painters, fashion designers and musicians like singer-songwriter James Cavern.

Affordable housing for the creative class.

In cities like New York and San Francisco, artists are the urban pioneers who seek cheap spaces to live and work. They often bring their creative energy, reviving blighted neighborhoods.

Creating affordable artist housing requires complicated financing, including federal low-income housing tax credits and state, local and philanthropic funding. It’s a challenge that’s attracting more attention from private developers, especially when it’s targeted at young, growing artists who are being priced out of downtown areas in which they’ve established careers.

At Warehouse Artist Lofts (WAL), a block in Sacramento’s revitalized R Street district, 116 apartments are available at below-market rates for artists of all disciplines. Tenants share a common space in the remodeled Lawrence Warehouse, which includes a dance studio, art gallery and event courtyard. Artists can choose from studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. All residents are required to meet income eligibility guidelines, which can be viewed here. For WAL resident Tyler Campbell, the community is a perfect fit.

The neighborhood’s next big thing.

The renovated 100-year-old Lawrence Warehouse is a hive of activity in Sacramento’s R Street corridor. Artists, musicians, writers and other residents gather in shared spaces and work together to inspire each other. The loft complex, renamed WAL, offers 116 apartments, 86 of which are subsidized. The others are at market rate.

The complex is a mix of new construction and the existing six-story warehouse building that was purchased and rehabilitated by CADA in 2009. It’s one of several projects making the neighborhood a destination for shopping, eating and entertainment.

The lofts are filled with art created by residents, including a celestial scene painted by Jose Di Gregorio that greets people as they enter the building. Residents open their studios to the public during a monthly event called First Friday. It’s a chance for people to meet fellow artists and try new foods and drinks from local businesses. Residents say they enjoy the energy of having all these creative people living in the same place.

Getting started.

For many aspiring artists, living in the Warehouse Artist Lofts (WAL) on R Street between 11th and 12th streets is their first taste of downtown living. It’s a hive of energy, creativity and noise. But that’s not the only thing that makes this neighborhood a hit with the arts crowd.

WAL residents can make all the noise they want until 10 p.m. – drumming, sawing and singing are all fine. And, if you’re an opera singer practicing an aria, just plug in your amp. No one will kick you out.

But, if you want to be part of this community, you must meet low-income qualifications for most of the 116 units in the old and new 6-story building. And, you have to have credentials as a real artist. That includes submitting a questionnaire and proof of work, which could include a website or photos of your work. Applicants also have to attend a meeting and demonstrate their artistic ability.

What to expect.

The Warehouse Artist Lofts have already made a huge impact on the neighborhood. Residents and visitors alike are flocking to the area to see what the arts community is up to, grab a bite to eat and check out the new art installations.

“We’re hoping that, over time, this whole corridor will become known as an arts district,” says Rhomberg. “It’s the creative heart of Sacramento.”

If you want to experience the WAL vibe for yourself, head over to a First Friday event at the building and meet the artists. Or stop by any time to chat with the people that call the building home.

The professional leasing staff at QArtLofts is ready to help you find your perfect apartment. Schedule a tour today!

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