ABC No Rio is Headed into Exile Next Month Ahead of its New ‘Passive House’ on Rivington Street
ABC No Rio is officially going into exile next month to prepare for the next chapter in its life.
Nearly seven years after learning that the punk haven – founded in 1980 – is slated for a fancy new replacement facility at 156 Rivington Street, the wrecking ball is on the way. Final shows are planned, and the institution could close as early as next month. Although, there aren’t any demolition permits on file with the Department of Buildings.
Challenges and roadblocks abounded. Plans all along called for a 9,000 square-foot, Leed-certified “passive house” (energy efficient) that boasts exhibition and performance spaces, in addition to a green roof and second-floor terrace. However, the project progressed sluggishly through a quagmire of beauracracy and administrative red tape.
The New York Times reported on the temporary departure yesterday, and noted that the re-development of Streit’s next door certainly accelerated their own plans. The aging four-story tenement can’t handle the action from the soon-to-rise structure.
Although the razing and rebuilding have been planned for years, delayed by red tape and rising costs, the decision to act now came after developers recently paid $30 million for a former matzo factory next to No Rio that they plan to replace with million-dollar condos. Given No Rio’s age and condition, the structure seemed unlikely to survive the demolition next door.
A few weeks ago the group’s zine library, one of the more prominent such collections in the country, moved to Clemente Soto Vélez, a community center on Suffolk Street, where No Rio’s director, Steven Englander, will also have an office. Volunteers have been packing up inside the third-floor darkroom. And organizers of the center’s weekly Saturday afternoon punk shows said they would shift performances to other places, including Silent Barn in Bushwick, Brooklyn, starting in July.
ABC No Rio purchased 156 Rivington Street from the city In 2006 the for a dollar. Since then, the arts hub has raised $1.6 million in private donations, plus an additional $6.45 million in grants through City Council members, the former Manhattan Borough president Scott M. Stringer and the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs.