More than two years after putting the Arts Factory on the market, owner Wes Myles says he's finally found some buyers who might actually become the Arts Factory's new owners.
A young couple from Southern California signed a purchase of sale agreement and are moving forward with plans, Myles says, adding that it's too early in the game to say whether or not it will happen.
"We need to get further down the road. I've had a variety of offers. I've been in escrow to sell it several times. They've all fallen through for a variety of reasons."
Those reasons include concerns about upkeep on the multi-tenant, two-story building at Charleston Boulevard and Arts Way, or concerns with tenants not having value and unsigned leases.
Word of interested buyers looking to purchase the longtime anchor and hub of the Arts District in the last year has led to chatter around town and rumors that the building had been sold. One month ago an interested party approached a tenant in the building, asserting that he had purchased it when, according to Myles, no deal had been made.
Each close call has been followed by concerns from the community that under new owners the Arts Factory might not maintain its role as a creative space with art galleries and studios. Broker Jack Woodcock has the Arts Factory listed on his site at $3.5 million.
Of the new potential buyers, Myles says, "They have a desire to make something of themselves in a community. They see the problems I'm having with the Arts Factory as something they can resolve. They've been in the real estate game for some time."
Additionally, he says, "I have a good feeling, because they have the desire and the ability. With the other people it was one or the other. These are people who want to do it and can do it. They have youthful energy, combined with education and experience."
The couple was introduced to many of the Arts Factory tenants last night during First Friday.
Myles, who bought the building back in the '90s, opened the restaurant Bar+Bistro on the east side of the building a few years ago and plans to keep the restaurant, as well as his Studio West photography business. Myles also lives in the building.
"I need to keep my studio in the Arts Factory in some fashion. My photography business has been my primary source of income," he says, via telephone from Colorado where his wife moved recently and he is spending a good chunk of his time. He says he remains interested in the cultural value of the Arts Factory, home to Trifecta Gallery, Sin City Gallery, Jana's RedRoom and others.
"This past preview Thursday it was what we always dreamed First Friday would be. There were about 500 people and it was all about the art."