A combination of untenable NYC rents and Detroit’s somewhat under-the-radar but vibrant art scene has lured another impresario and institution to Detroit. Robert Elmes of the renowned Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn is making the move having boldly acquired the large space behind the Michigan Central Depot [between 18th and 19th and just north of Mexican Village] and the old Highland Park High School on Glendale between 2nd and 3rd.

Below Elmes [left] with former Michigan Building owner Anthony Pieroni surveying Highland Park High School. Click image for larger view.

I had met the energetic Mr. Elmes when he was considering acquiring the Michigan Building where the DetroitYES office is and have met with him on subsequent visits. But at his request I withheld reporting his impending moves until substantiated as they have been in today’s NY Times:
Born in Brooklyn, Now Making a Motown Move – Galapagos Art Space Will Make Detroit Its Home

Over the past year, Mr. Elmes and his wife, Philippa Kaye, have bought nine buildings totaling about 600,000 square feet in that city’s Corktown neighborhood and in neighboring Highland Park, paying what he described as the price of “a small apartment in New York City” for the properties.

Among the buildings is “an old power plant that looks like a little Tate Modern,” Mr. Elmes said. The centerpiece of the new Galapagos will be a 10,000-square-foot lake, he said, and he is planning about 16 months of renovation work before opening.

Preliminary plans call for converting the spaces into artist resident/studio spaces with performance and exhibition spaces.