LORAIN — A BRIAR patch is being built at Broadway and West Seventh Street.
The acronym stands for Black River Innovators and Artists Residence, a 10,000-square-foot artists’ loft and studio being built on the second floor of the building at 668 Broadway. The first floor will be a 10,000-square-foot art gallery.
“We want people to get tangled up in the arts,” said organizer Luke Theall. “At the BRIAR, you can do that.”
Theall is the property manager for the Gardens of Charleston, a 28-unit upscale apartment building at 610-630 Broadway. The apartments and the building at 668 Broadway — formerly Ted’s Floors and Ted’s Floor Coverings owned by County Commissioner Ted Kalo — are owned by developer Gary Davis.
Davis said he hopes the studios and galleries will attract more people downtown and are part of an overall downtown revitalization strategy. Davis said artists could be the “salvation” of downtown.
“The biggest problem with downtown Lorain is there’s no reason to go to downtown Lorain,” Davis said. “We’ve got to give people a reason to come down.”
Theall said the second floor will accommodate four tenants and have a workroom, four storage rooms and a communal bathroom and kitchen. The second floor also will include Broad Waves Studios, an audio and video studio that Theall said he will run.
The basement will have at least five rehearsal spaces for musicians.
Theall said he hopes to have the loft ready to rent by August or September. Theall said he’s working with art and downtown revitalization groups to make the building a success.
“I’ve been champing at the bit to get this going,” he said. “I’ve finally got the permits from the city to move forward.”