Not everyone can fit into Fremont East and the Arts District — or wants to, for that matter. That’s why Charlie Fox, former owner of the Bunkhouse, bought — and is renovating — a labrynthian, mid-century modern complex on Industrial Road. It’s called Downtown Spaces, despite its Naked City location, and it’s already signing leases for its numerous spaces (ranging from 150 to 1,100 square feet) to those wanting some distance from the barhopping, art-indifferent masses that now frequent Fremont and 18b.
Already, members of the Macro Fi artist collective are building (through Indiegogo crowdfunding) a recording studio, Naked City Audio, and planning a used bookstore. Cha Cha Velour will soon hold her burlesque dancing classes there. A tea-mixer company will establish its HQ onsite. And property manager Tamarisk Wood says two more artists are signing up for studio/galleries this week. Other future plans include a stage for future First Friday events.
Naked City Audio owner John Kiehlbauch sees in the complex a viable, cheaper alternative to other multiuse facilities, one away from the coveted entities of the downtowm surge. “Every time I go to Fremont East, I feel like a tourist,” he says. Which is why he’s helping Fox and Wood make Downtown Spaces a new home for disillusioned artists.