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Reader: Yeah, Let's Tax Art Spaces More So They Build Apartments Instead!
Jay Vollmar

Reader: Yeah, Let's Tax Art Spaces More So They Build Apartments Instead!

Two months ago, the title of Susan Froyd's cover story asked this: "Are Big Property Tax Bills Painting Denver's Arts Districts Into a Corner?" The piece focused on concerns in Denver's Art District on Santa Fe, where rents are rising and property-tax bills are skyrocketing, but art galleries and studios are feeling the pain all over town.

On September 6, Helikon Gallery & Studios announced that it would close by the end of 2019, citing a property-tax bill that is 300 percent higher...and more than the building in the heart of the River North Art District collects in rent from its artist tenants. Response to the news was fast, and sometimes furious.

Says Jaclyn: 

No, that's a shame! This place is amazing.

Adds Nichole: 

Galleries should be protected and treated like museums! This is disgraceful!!

Comments Troy: 

No one should be taxed out of business.

Replies Daniel: 

Yeah, let's punitively tax art spaces so they can build more $1800-a-month apartments that will go vacant.

Notes Kristin:

 It’s a HIGHLY desirable area. What do you expect?

Asks Chris: 

Tell me again how the River North Art District is an "Art District"? Another one bites the dust.

Responds Russell: 

More like a “restaurant” district.

Concludes Joe: 

I'm sure some trendy $20 salad place will take over that space.

Helikon opened in October 2013 at 3675 Wynkoop Street — a building that owner Cayce Goldberg's grandfather built in 1974. At 10,000 square feet, the structure holds two exhibition spaces, fourteen studios, a classroom, coffee shop and retail space, with the idea that "art galleries function effectively as public services — conduits to culture where we can absorb and admire artwork, design, and aesthetics," according to Helikon's online statement announcing the closing.

Helikon appealed its property-tax bill to the city but was denied. "Despite our best efforts to maintain an accessible space and affordable studios for artists, we’re left with little choice but to increase rent to accommodate for this new expense," the statement continues.

And that means tenants who are not artists.

What do you think of the Helikon news? The state of Denver's arts districts in general? Post a comment or share your thoughts at editorial@westword.com.

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