ArtS Real Estate Strategy

Understanding the real estate landscape to make informed decisions about growth strategies.


XYZ arts organization has been an anchor institution within New York City’s contemporary performing arts scene for over 40 years. At the time of this project, they regularly occupied space totaling just over 9,500 SF and rented additional spaces on an as-needed basis for particular projects.

“We want spaces that will help us develop a rhythm and consistent way of working with each other, with artists, and with audiences.”

Note: The name of the organization has been changed and some details slightly altered to preserve the privacy of the client.


XYZ arts organization wanted to create a master plan for real estate activation that would transform its current year-to-year short-term activities into a system for property management and could provide longer-term continuity, inform future opportunities, and clarify its programmatic & operational priorities.

Services Provided

Stakeholder Interviews
Participatory Strategy Session
Architectural Narratives & Space Requirements
Real Estate Market Analysis
Neighborhood Development Research
Competitor Research
Public Records Data Analysis


Audiences want spaces where they can:

  Immerse themselves in ideas
  Expand their horizons
  Learn from and with artists
  Connect with each other
  Enjoy themselves



Given XYZ’s vision, programming aspirations, and current situation, I was able to provide the organization with a clear understanding of their space needs. 

I conducted research into the real estate market, neighborhood development activities, their competitive landscape, and public records data on property developer, managers, and owners in specific target neighborhoods.

I provided a snapshot of their baseline financial needs given current market costs should they decide to pursue a space-growth strategy. I then developed recommendations for four strategies the organization could pursue to develop unconventional partnerships that might off-set some of the costs and risks of a more aggressive growth strategy.



At the end of the project, in addition to strategy recommendations, XYZ had materials they could use to do further organizational planning and fundraising.

They had detailed descriptions of the kinds of spaces they would activate systematically if they were to realize their full growth vision, including space and equipment needs, programmatic usage and timing requirements, as well as potential acquisition paths.

They had a deeper understanding of the peers in their landscape – both competitors as well as non-competitors who might be strong allies. They had a whole new list of potential supporters and strategic partners who shared their commitment to their neighborhood.

They also had a much better understanding of how their neighborhood and those around them were transforming both demographically and economically, as well as how they might be able to take advantage of those changes.