The Hal Marshall building in Uptown gives 120 artists a home

The Hal Marshall building in Uptown gives 120 artists a home

Visual and Performing Arts Center (VAPA). Photo: courtesy Arthur Rogers/VAPA

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VAPA Center is a mall for artists.

The Mecklenburg County office space, the Hal Marshall building in Uptown, will be home to 120 artists and countless arts organization.

  • Arthur Rogers, the project/property manager told Axios they have a 128-person waitlist for 15-20 available spaces.

Why it matters: Space for artists is tough to come by in a booming city. A handful of arts groups are losing a crucial Uptown location in Spirit Square, which closed in preparation for remodeling and construction on the new Main Library, a project expected to be completed in 2025.

  • Spirit Square was where Charlotte Comedy Theater, Charlotte’s Off Broadway and other VAPA members held classes and performed.

    What’s next: Now they’re headed down the street to VAPA. The organization took possession of the building Sept. 13.

    • They hope to have a grand opening by the end of the year, as long as they receive their certificate of occupancy from code enforcement.

    Of note: The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library will have space in the Hal Marshall building through the end of the year.

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    What it offers: VAPA includes art galleries and studios, theaters, spaces for arts education and artist membership and volunteer opportunities.

    • The building will be open to the public during business hours, which are still being ironed out.
    • “This is a public facing amenity meaning that the public is funding this through their tax dollars to Mecklenburg  County and so we want to make this accessible to the public as often as possible,” Rogers said.

    The founding members include 11 organizations:

    Of note: McColl Center has the three-year lease to the building from the county, as it is a nonprofit.

    • Mark Hahn, Mecklenburg County director of asset and facility Management at Mecklenburg County and project advisor, told Axios the lease could be transferred to VAPA at any time.
    • The county would prefer to deal with a 501(c)(3), which VAPA hopes to become by the end of the year.

    By the numbers: The building lease is $1 per year, and spaces will be leased by VAPA for $3 per square-foot per year.

    • The county retains some space in the building for the Sheriff field operations unit.
    • Of the 150,000 square feet of total space, 100,000 will be for the artists.

    Flashback: A Sears store once sat where the current building is. 

    The big picture: The county plans to redevelop the 11-acre site, but that’s a five-to-six-year process.

    • Hahn told Axios it will be three-to-four years before looking to develop the site.
    • Rogers told Axios the county can come in at any time and give them 30 days notice to leave.

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