A new art-focused apartment community showcases a creative urban vibe and local artists.
by Michael J. Solender
Upon an initial visit to HUB South End, visitors might mistakenly think they’ve stumbled into a contemporary art-infused coworking lounge instead of a smart new residential complex.
Sunlight floods the casual, airy space filled with soft couches, conversation pods and a long cement work counter that doubles as a coffee bar, encouraging guests to settle in for a while. A gallery wall with portraits, hand-painted oils and mixed-media textured works draws the eye across the Bauhaus-inspired space, engaging with its color balance and soothing calm. Thoughtfully selected original art fills just about every corner of the common areas, and that’s by design.
“Our target resident is the urban dweller,” says Rachel Russell Krenz, director of development for Ram Realty Advisors, HUB’s developer. “Somebody who wants to walk out of their house, take the light rail to work, walk to places for shopping, restaurants. They want a comfortable place to retreat where they can work or unwind — an extension of their home. Original art makes space feel like a home versus a commercial lobby.”
The 265-unit apartment community opened in January near the Blue Line’s East/West Blvd transit station. Eschewing catalog-based anonymous art, HUB instead turned to local artists in styling a comfortable home/third-space mashup rarely found in multifamily rentals.
Krenz recognized the deep well of creative talent in Charlotte and turned to Art House Charlotte founder Judith Zehmke to help curate an eclectic portfolio.
“[Krenz] had such clarity about her vision of offering a different experience for HUB residents,” says Zehmke, an art dealer who typically works with individual clients in selecting original art for their homes. “The project provided a wonderful opportunity to showcase many of Charlotte’s talented artists.” The resulting 29 original artworks created by 17 local artists set a tone for the space that resonates with urban enthusiasts.
HUB South End is taking its commitment to local artists a step further by establishing an artist-in-residence program. “We’re offering six month’s rent of a studio or one-bedroom apartment to our selected artist in residence,” says Krenz, who notes HUB has seen interest from visual and performing artists, photographers — even chefs. “We want to layer in a programming aspect where the artist educates the community on their craft. It’s important to recognize [that] individuals make great space. Creativity is embraced here.” SP
photographs courtesy HUB South End