Steinfeld Warehouse Stands Ready for Its Next Chapter

July 23, 2012

By Teya Vitu

The Steinfeld Warehouse, 101 W. 6th St., now stands ready for the next phase to allow artists to reoccupy the 1907 brick warehouse.

The Steinfeld Warehouse.

First things had to come first. Six months of stabilization work brought the historic structure up to code with extensive brick, roof and foundation work.

“It went very smoothly,” said Liz Burden, president of the Warehouse Arts Management Organization, which owns the Steinfeld Warehouse.

That doesn’t mean people can move in today.

WAMO simply has a stabilized shell of a building. The interior is just a conceptual plan on paper that still needs the fine details. Constructions plans need to be drawn, and WAMO still needs to assemble money for interior work.

“Our timeline is we would be opening at least part of the building in 2014,” Burden said.

“The next conversation is to start attracting an anchor tenant into the building.”

Tucson firms did all the stabilization work. Sellers & Sons was the general contractor. Oden Construction and Cox Masonry took on the considerable masonry work to stabilize walls and repoint the bricks, where much of the mortar had disintegrated.

The foundation was shored up,

“The roof was pretty dramatic,” Burden said. “It had, over 30 years, deteriorated so it needed to be replaced.”

That was not just a simple matter of putting on a new roof. The roof beams were not attached to the outer wall because the warehouse was built in an era where fire was the biggest threat. 1907 fire prevention goes contrary to today’s seismic standards. Now there is a structural connection between the walls and roof diaphragms to provide seismic stability.

Earlier this year, the Downtown architecture and urban planning firm Poster Frost Mirto drew up conceptual plans to reinvent the Steinfeld as an artist live/work complex with public studio, retail and courtyard space.

WAMO presented these concepts to the El Presidio and Dunbar/Springs neighborhoods and plans to return to these neighborhoods to collaborate on how to best flesh out these concepts, Burden said.

The concept envisions 10 live/work units that each offer living and studio space.

The stabilization cost about $1 million and was funded by city Community Development Block Grants. Burden estimates another $1 million will be needed for interior improvements.

WAMO does have $600,000 in federal HOME low-income housing funds to give the organization a head start with tenant improvements

“The next phase will be grant writing, fundraising, borrowing,” Burden said. “We have a small grant to get started with construction drawings.”
WAMO took ownership of Steinfeld on Nov. 9, 2011. The City retains ownership of the land beneath.

WAMO has about $500,000 for the repair work comprised of city Community Development Block Grant funds and state trust funds from the rents artists paid ADOT during the 25 years they have occupied Toole Avenue warehouses and the Steinfeld.

Funding still needs to be assembled for the full build out. That could be a combination of grants and tax credits, said Jim Wilcox, a development consultant for WAMO.