BY KENT DARR, Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, August 25, 2016
If Justin Mandelbaum was getting impatient to start converting a telecommunications building into a multipurpose space for artists and nonprofit organizations, he wasn’t showing it.
Mandelbaum, and his father, John, wanted the project to be self-sustaining. The first indication that they are sticking to that model came Wednesday, when Justin Mandelbaum announced a spare piece of land at Mainframe Studios on Keosauqua Way had been assembled with another piece of nearby land and sold to QuikTrip Corp.
The sale and a donation from the growing convenience store operation, will trigger the first phase of the project to turn the former CenturyLink building at 900 Keosauqua Way into affordable artists’ studios.
Mainframe Studios is a nonprofit founded by Justin Mandelbaum to create a self-sustaining organization and provide artist studios, event spaces, a shared community kitchen and office space for other arts-related nonprofits.
The proceeds from the sale of land at the site, along with a donation from QuikTrip, resulted in nearly $2.43 million and allows the first phase of the project to proceed. QuikTrip purchased the land for nearly $1.7 million and has also provided a lead gift of $750,000 to Mainframe Studios. Once the renovation is completed, affordable rents should cover operating expenses and contribute to an endowment, eliminating the need for annual fundraising
The building’s lower level studios, a multiuse main level, and 50 studios on the fourth floor are expected to be completed in March 2017. The remaining two floors of studios will be constructed over the next two years.