RiNo Art District leaving $8,200 space that was campaign issue for Giellis

The River North Art District is leaving Zeppelin Station for cheaper digs, according to the district’s president.

The district — which collects property taxes to provide services and infrastructure — has had its headquarters in the new Zeppelin building for just more than a year.

It became an election issue for former mayoral candidate Jamie Giellis, who led the district during the move. The new space increased RiNo’s rent from $800 to $8,200 per month and tripled its footprint to 2,400 square feet, including retail space.

RELATED: Jamie Giellis’ RiNo legacy includes a pricier office. Thinking big or wasting money?

Some board members said it was a waste of money, while others said the retail store boosted local artists, as first reported by The Denver Post. The store, which closes July 14, was losing money for the district but delivered $100,000 in commissions to artists, according to the district.

The organization now will move to the Walnut Workshop, a warehouse at 3525 Walnut Street. It will cost $1,700 monthly for a 900 square feet, with three months of free rent, said art district President Tracy Weil.

“There are several art studios in the building. It’s been one of our RiNo locations for several years,” he said. “It’s definitely gritty, which is great.”

The building, which is owned by developer Andrew Feinstein, is just south of the railroad tracks, near the 36th Street pedestrian bridge.

Zeppelin, which provided six months of free rent to RiNo, let the district out of its lease. “They’ve been so gracious, so we really appreciate that,” Weil said.

The landlord also discounted rent by $1,100 in recent months, but RiNo has agreed to repay some of the difference.

In a written statement, Giellis said the move is disappointing. The initial decision was made with the “consensus of a large board, acknowledging there would be many unknowns.”

She continued: “The loss of this element to RiNo’s programming after just over a year of operations is an unfortunate one for the creative community, and — in my opinion — a step backwards for RiNo’s fight to support its artists.”

She noted that the change comes soon after a “major investment” to open the space had started to gain momentum. Giellis is currently recovering from surgery and unable to speak comfortably. Westword first reported the move.

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