Much to the relief of Delray Beach arts lovers, the city has decided to let a popular cultural hub stay in the space it’s called home for the last two years.
The fate of the Arts Garage has hung in the balance since last summer, when a law firm offered to buy the city-owned property that the arts incubator occupies downtown. Since then, Delray Beach has been forced to choose between the new jobs the law firm says it would bring and the wildly popular performance venue.
During last night’s city commission meeting, Mayor Cary Glickstein said the economic benefits of a cultural organization in the space would far surpass what could be expected from a law firm.
“I think it would be a tragedy to sell that space to a law firm and, frankly, any commercial user,” said Glickstein.
Delray commissioners agreed to give Arts Garage two-and-a-half years to come up with the $2.5 million needed to purchase the space on its own. Arts Garage Executive Director Alyona Ushe says she’s confident the non-profit can raise the funds
“We are sitting on a gold mine. Our program is exploding," says Ushe. "The only thing we were missing until now was certainty. Certainty that we could stay, certainty that we could get our hands on the venue so we could make something permanent and special."
Delray Beach commissioners say they hope the law firm, Kanner and Pintaluga, can expand its headquarters to a different space within the city. Meanwhile, the city of Boynton Beach has been openly courting the law firm in hopes of bringing it – and its 200 promised jobs – to a massive mixed-use complex planned for its own downtown.