Telluride Arts: Supporting Transfer Warehouse Project

Kate Jones, executive director of Telluride Arts, has watched plans for the SW corner of Fir and Pacific evolve over the past three years. These plans now include more affordable housing than is required, smaller homes along the alley to help ease the transition between residential homes and the commercial warehouse district, and pathways throughout the project for pedestrian flow. 

Someone’s starter castle or lux condo or your cool community and arts center? (Image, Molly Perrault, Telluride Arts.)

Someone’s starter castle or lux condo conversion? Or your cool community and arts complex? (Image, Molly Perrault, Telluride Arts.)

‘The property owners are providing a very fair and exciting community benefit that will restore the Warehouse and convert it from private to public ownership in perpetuity,” explained Jones.

My letter of support to HARC is below:

We hold certain truths to be self-evident.

Telluride is, no denying, a ski resort. But what snows folks around these parts is not just, well, snow. It is the richly diverse cultural life.

Telluride is a ski resort AND a cultural center.

I should know: Telluride’s cultural life has been my “beat” for going on 23 years.

But it is a cultural center without a center.

Until now.

Or soonish: the development of the Transfer Warehouse is a game-changer.

Why the need?

To preserve a piece of Telluride’s colorful history.

As many have learned, in the early 1900s, tracks for a narrow gauge railroad ran along the southwest corridor of Pacific and Fir, an area known as the Warehouse District. When the mining boom busted and Telluride became a ghost of its former lustrous self, the only two buildings left standing were the Stronghouse and the Transfer Warehouse.

And to support the arts and an evolving cultural environment in the region.

Key nonprofits, the ones that drive Telluride’s cultural economy such as the Telluride Film Festival, Telluride Library, Telluride Mountainfilm, are clamoring for more work, meeting, and event space, a long-term need with a near-term fix.

What’s more, art space emerged as a key need out of Telluride’s updated Cultural Master Plan, spearheaded and coordinated by Kate Jones and Telluride Arts, since 1971, the key advocate for the art sector within the community. In fact, based on that mandate, back in Fall 2014, Kate and Telluride Arts began serious conversations with the Town of Telluride, funders, developers, and others about long-term art space needs, conversations which have now picked up a head of steam – and hopefully will reach fruition.

Why support Transfer Telluride?

Because it is an idea whose time has come.

And because, Telluride Arts, which would function as the steward of the complex, is capable of and committed to the elegant execution of the project and efficient management of the renovated space.

Why support development plans for the Transfer Warehouse?

It is a question that begs a question: Why not?

Would the community rather see a starter castle or luxury condominium on a site that would otherwise function for the common good and the historic Warehouse turned into an oh-so-cool garage (or something else equally offensively inappropriate)?

Won’t happen you say?

Think again.

The owner of the property is fully within its rights to develop the SW corridor as it wishes should Town turn down the current proposal for preservation of the Transfer Warehouse and the reinvigoration of the historic district.

Why support the plan?

The revitalized plan also includes a cafe.

Coffee, culture, and history make a powerful brew.

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