Artists are moving into new loft-style apartments this week, thanks to the renovation of a factory built in Buffalo in 1914 to manufacture electric cars.
After Americans chose gas-powered cars over electric ones, the factory became a print shop, which closed years ago.
A Minneapolis-based nonprofit real-estate developer, Artspace, targeted the building in 2004, after Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) wrote an op-ed piece in the Buffalo News asking the city's mayor to work with the group.
"Buffalo needs reasons for hope, and this is a reason for hope," says Wendy Holmes, Artspace's vice president of consulting and resource development.
The renovation created 60 lofts. Tenants moved into the 36 lofts in the historic factory in August, and others will occupy 24 brand-new lofts in six buildings constructed behind the factory.
"Artists, of course, are willing to be pioneers and go into almost any neighborhood in any city to find affordable housing," Holmes says.
The Breitweiser project is Artspace's first in New York state. Since the nonprofit formed in 1979, it has completed 18 rehabilitations and has another 12 in the works.
Restore America, a Partnership of Home and Garden Television and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, helped fund the $16.9 million project.
For a list of Artspace's projects, visit http://www.artspaceusa.org/neighborhood/