Press Bowery Boogie : ABC No Rio’s Passive House Replacement Potentially Delayed Due to Overall Lack of Funding / by Paul Castrucci

Posted on: January 4th, 2017 at 5:00 am by Elie

Punk haven ABC No Rio is taking baby steps toward demolition and rebuilding of their new Rivington Street facility.

The city gave its initial nod back in July, then two months later, water, electric, and sewage utility lines were each severed. The remainder of demolition awaits the official go-ahead, though, and is expected to commence in “early 2017.”

Meanwhile, director Steven Englander continues to solicit funds, and recently provided a more transparent update on progress. Namely, that construction bids for the eco-friendly “passive house” replacement came in much higher than anticipated and that ABC No Rio doesn’t have enough coin in its coffers…

As you may recall, in 2014 we moved our project over to the City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC). Given some of our project’s unique aspects, city officials felt that EDC would be a better fit as they allow for greater flexibility in project management and administration.

We put the project out to bid and, unfortunately, the bids came back a lot higher than our available funding. While we’re disappointed, we’re not giving up hope and continue to explore our options for raising more money and getting our dream building up and running. Remember, ABC No Rio originated from a creative action by artists who never dreamed that breaking into a building to protest the city’s real estate policies would lead to a community arts center where many several thousands of artists, activists and others have been able to connect and learn. We’ve survived years of eviction attempts and gentrification. When the city first told us that if we raised the money to develop the site, they’d give us our home, many thought that this was an impossible task. But we did it – and in 2006, the City signed over the deed.

So, far from giving up hope, we’ll keep exploring what we need to make our new home happen. We are working with EDC staff and the construction management firm they hired to determine how to best move forward with our available funds given the current challenging market and environment for construction costs.

So, those punk shows will continue in exile for the duration.

As previously reported, the reincarnated ABC No Rio at 156 Rivington Street will eventually boast larger exhibition and performance spaces (doubling the size), in addition to a green roof and second-floor terrace. The solar-equipped building will also have an elevator and carry the organization’s zine library, computer lab, print shop, dark room, and kitchen.