An interview with Rick Destito, the young, progressive developer of the artist/musician building profiled yesterday…
Why are you dedicating this building to artists and musician tenants?
“In my travels around the country, over and over again the most vibrant, exciting, and interesting places I have been were consumed with arts and music. It’s that feeling of creativity and ideas, that energy that comes from it all. It’s something we didn’t have much of back home in Syracuse in a concentrated area.
That energy and creativity will start in this building and work out into the larger community. It’s more than just this property, it’s also about building up the surrounding community and creating that all important atmosphere for people who want to live, work and play in the same area.”
Can you do that and still make money?
“To do so, you need a healthy mix of things. Aside from just renting studios and live/work space, I’m looking at a few different business opportunities that would fit in well with the overall vision of the property. I do think certain things that generate income for the building will supplement other things that need to be more affordable, even long-term renting vs. short-term can have a huge difference in price on the something.
I could probably do all of one thing that would look great on paper or sell condos to be in and out quick which sounds great in the “short term”. However, what you won’t have is that crucial mix of people that makes the property sustainable for years to come. A building with character and great atmosphere may generate money at a slower pace in the short term, but I believe it will yield much more in the long term. Same concept for building a sustainable community.”
What kind of interest are you getting from the artist/musician community?
“Overwhelming support. Currently in Syracuse there seems to be plenty of artists and musicians, but almost no art or music studio spaces available. From what I’ve heard in talking with other people involved with the arts in the community, it takes about a year and a half to two years to be able to get into a gallery to show your work. There are also no medium-size music venues, you just have the bars or you have the really large venues. Also, in Syracuse studies show a need for approximately 300 live/work units of which there are almost zero currently.
I’m not just renovating a building – I know that for my place to do well, the places around me have to do well. For this reason I’m very involved in things going on in the community, such as Syracuse Public Arts and Tomorrows Neighborhoods Today to make the entire area better and get people to really start utilizing everything and every property around us in the area. Some of the things we’ve done this year so far are the passing of Syracuse’s first Public Art Ordinance and the city’s first sculpture park, Lipe Art Park which is just down the street from the building.”