From Marc Levy at the Cambridge Day

Source: Foundry gets a four-hour open house Saturday to tout community arts option

"The Foundry Works Building, a 52,000-square-foot structure of former manufacturing space at 101 Rogers St., was given the city in January 2012 as part of the rezoning that let Alexandria Real Estate Equities build its lab and office space tall and dense on a 15-acre campus along Binney Street. As part of the deal, 10,000 square feet of the Foundry is set aside for community use – which has yet to be defined.

The City Council has been grappling with how to use the building since June 2012, and in February took the rare step of setting a time limit on how long City Manager Robert W. Healy had to respond with answers on the possibilities and needs of the building from real estate and engineering perspectives. At the end of April councillors agreed to spend $40,000 on a study recommended by Healy.

“Having access to such a large arts space in the city opens up a world of possibilities. It would create an environment that promotes collaboration, skill-sharing and the exchange of ideas. The Foundry would be an invaluable resource for the Cambridge community,” said Liz Devlin, independent curator and founder of FLUX. Boston.

First for the city, though, comes the findings of the study, while impatient residents pursue pinning down what they see as the best use for the building. It is also being eyed by the business community as a chance for the kind of incubator space being pushed out of Kendall Square by larger companies that can pay higher rents, and many say the uses can co-exist.

“We’re not talking about an extra studio in an Allston basement. We are talking about 52,000 square feet,” said Devlin, imagining its use as art space. “More than an acre.”"

To Sign a petition in support.

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