Artists studios to fill entire floor in Fisher Building

Michael H. Hodges
The Detroit News

Here’s an offer many Detroit artists couldn’t refuse: How’d you like a nice studio in the Fisher Building?

The Platform, the development company pouring $100 million into renovating the Fisher Building and the nearby Albert Kahn Building, will rent out the Fisher’s entire fourth floor to artists at subsidized rates starting this fall.

Abir Ali, Platform director of design and culture, said it’s all part of trying to create a diverse and inviting commercial skyscraper.

“The Fisher Building is Detroit’s largest art object,” Ali said. “This pays homage to its history.”

The “white box” studios will range from 250 square feet to 2,750 square feet for collective spaces, all offered at $15 a square foot. For the smallest, that works out to about $350 a month. After a three-year introductory period, rates will rise into the low-$20s.

“We could wait until artists got to the point where they could afford the Fisher,” she said, “or we could bring them in now and grow alongside them.”

No government subsidies or tax breaks will be involved, she added. The Platform just believes attracting a dynamic mix of creatives — artists, designers, writers and possibly even dancers — will enhance the building’s luxury brand.

Helping those artists grow will be a makers’ marketplace open to artists across the city that the Platform will set up in the Fisher’s basement concourse — a once-lively commercial space the developers want to reanimate.

Part of the hope, Ali said, is that the studios will reinforce Detroit’s reputation as an artistic haven. “By our embracing creatives,” she said, “it just reinforces that the city embraces creatives.”

Ali said she’s already been contacted by a number of promising tenants, but adds that anyone interested could contact her at

She dismisses the idea that this somehow represents an uneconomic or foolish use of valuable real estate.

“We’re looking to create value wherever we can,” Ali said. “If you look at it through the lens of impacting the city, then it’s a no-brainer.”

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Twitter: @mhodgesartguy