Converting Goshen factory into artists, entrepreneur complex


A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday in Goshen.

It was the kick off of a unique project to convert an old factory into a complex for artists and entrepreneurs to work and live.

It will be known as the "Hawks Arts and Enterprise Center."

The project is going up in the old Hawks Furniture building by Goshen's millrace canal.

LaCasa is overseeing the project to renovate the interior of the building built in 1868, adding new plumbing, heating and other utilities to make the Arts and Enterprise Center a reality.

"The building will be converted into 35 apartments, loft apartments, loft-style apartments for artists and entrepreneurs, and the idea is to develop a building that has an identity as a place for artists to live," said LaCasa's Brad Hunsberger.

The majority of the project is being funded by Great Lakes Capital from Lansing, Mich., the rest through federal and state grants.

"The project is unique in that creating an artist live, work environment, so that artists can start their careers," added LaCasa President Larry Gautsche.

Right now, anywhere from 20 to 30 area artists and entrepreneurs have indicated an interest in possibly taking up residence there. There is also a waiting list in the works. The goal and hope is to allow them to move in starting in April 2015.

Adrienne Nesbitt, who runs a local independent film house and is interested in music, hopes to be the first artist tenant.

"I am super excited about this building, because it's affordable housing for people who are trying to build up in the downtown community," said Nesbitt. "I told them, 'I want to be the first person to sign up.'"

"This is going to be a huge new creative project that brings artists together, and I am excited about collaboration activities," added local painter Ben Stutzman."

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Hawks Arts and Enterprise Center

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