The Globe and Mail has a scary article on the troubles Artscape is facing. Artscape, of course, is one of the forces behind the proposed, and controversial high-rise development on the John Street parking lot.
Artscape, John Lorinc says, is struggling to manage Wychwood Barns, one of its flagship projects and “Artscape’s relentless focus on expanding its footprint and brand may have compromised its less sexy responsibilities as a landlord.”
The occupant of a subsidized live-work apartment, who didn’t want to be identified for fear of eviction, put it this way: “Moving into that building is one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made in my adult life. It screwed up everything for me.”
Lorinc also reveals some unusual facts about Artscape’s roots and structure.
Many people assume Artscape is a city agency. But while the municipality provides hundreds of thousands of dollars in subsidies and loan guarantees, and more public dollars flow in from the other levels of government, Artscape is an independent development and property-management organization, albeit one that describes its mandate as fostering “creative communities.”…
A former general manager of the theatre company Buddies in Bad Times, Mr. Jones has been the driving force in Artscape since 2008. He is not a public servant and declined to reveal his salary or disclose whether he receives bonuses for completing projects. While an Artscape spokesperson acknowledged its overall salary and benefits expenses exceed the amounts cited on its financial statements, the organization would not provide details about its total annual payroll outlay.
Artscape has responded to Lorinc’s article but left unresolved, in my opinion, the most serious of his criticisms.