ABC No Rio Hopes to Break Ground on New ‘Passive House’ Facility in Spring 2015

Posted on: December 1st, 2014 at 5:00 am by
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When news broke over five years ago that ABC No Rio would be demolishing its centennial tenement (rather than renovating) for a new progressive facility, the story netted plenty of headlines. And controversy. Purists argued that this was a mistake running counter to the punk rock ethos of this longtime community center. 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 green roof and second floor terrace. Architect Paul Castrucci envisions the rendering below as the replacement.

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Paul Castrucci’s vision for ABC No Rio

But it’s been crickets on the development front for just as long; a slow-go. Until now, really. From what we understand, the project has been amidst the construction bid phase for the last couple years. ABC No Rio director Steve Englander provided a status update over the holiday weekend regarding the new facility. Apparently the project bids came in at much higher than initially predicted, so the organization is appealing its constituency to help cover the cost. The goal is to “put the project out to bid again in spring 2015, and begin preparations for the first phase of construction.”

2014 had a rough beginning, but is ending on a high note, with the exciting prospect of beginning construction on the new building soon.  As you’ve followed so many of the challenges we’ve faced, here’s a quick recap of where we are, and the plans ahead.

Unfortunately, the bids we received when we put the project out to bid in early 2014 came in higher than our available funding; it was a tremendous disappointment.  Last spring, however, we began discussing a better and more efficient way to move forward with the Department of Cultural Affairs.  We then moved the project over to the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), which allows for much greater flexibility in project management and administration. It’s also easier for EDC to incorporate our private funds into the project.

In October, we learned that we received an additional $1.5 million in City capital funding for our project. We’re grateful to our City Council representative, Margaret Chin, and to the Mayor and the Department of Cultural Affairs for this support.  Everyone — including EDC and the construction management team they will bring on board — is enthusiastic about the project getting off the ground. We plan to put the project out to bid again in spring 2015, and begin preparations for the first phase of construction.

Those contributing $250 or more will receive a limited-edition photograph by Jade Doskow of the ABC No Rio Printshop.

The arts collective purchased the building from the City of New York in 2006 for $1.

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December 2010

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