For years, the neighborhood of Fort Point in Boston has been home to hundreds of artists residing in affordable studios and apartments in renovated factory buildings. However, artists have been slowly forced to leave Fort Point as contracting firms have begun to transform this artists’ haven into a corporate complex filled with high-priced condos and offices.
In response to this urban development, the City of Boston created an enclave where artists could continue to reside in Fort Point in affordable studio and living spaces. In 2005, Midway Studios opened its doors with 89 live/work studios, including more than 30 affordable housing studios with rents based on average monthly income (AMI), available for occupancy. The first floor houses dramatic two story spaces, a lobby gallery and office/retail space for cultural organizations and arts-related businesses, as well as a dedicated 20,000 square foot black-box public theater space.
After the 2006 death of Midway developer Robert Kuehn, the public theater space was placed up for sale. In January 2012, entrepreneur David Rogers made plans to move his equipment and military helmet production company, Ops-Core, into the Midway theater space without public discussion.
Tenants of Midway are fighting for the end of Ops-Core’s use of hazardous chemicals, which have been released into the ventilation system of Midway and made dozens of residents ill. While Boston’s Inspection Services Department placed a temporary “Stop Work” order on Ops-Core’s construction on February 24th, 2012, local artists are fighting to make this order permanent. They also want to force Rogers to move Ops-Corps to a portion of the available industrial space in Fort Point.
On the evening of March 21, 2012, the Boston Redevelopment Authority met with Midway residents (along Inspectional Services, several politicians, the landlord and Ops-Core) to notify them that Ops-Core will be moving out of the theater space in a maximum of 45 days. A committee will then be formed to brainstorm ideas on how to make the theater space to work for everyone. The petition will remain active until such time as residents get their theater back.
Click here to read more about the fight to permanently end Ops-Core’s occupancy of the Midway Theater and to sign the petition.
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