The arts community seems to believe its birthright includes perpetually cheap real estate (“Tech cluster’s emergence prompts worry amid hope: Somerville’s artists fear being shut out,” Page A1, Jan. 4). As a community becomes more desirable, and the property taxes and value of buildings rise, why must the maintenance of the current use be anyone’s top priority? There are other places with cheap space, and yes, it may require artists to move in order to occupy it.
Now is the time for artists to go to Holyoke, North Adams, Lawrence, and other places where real estate is more reasonable than hot Somerville. They could form co-ops, condo associations, or partnerships, and buy old mill spaces, old shopping centers, or even an old mall in Lanesborough, and divvy it up and use it for their needs.
If you want to control your future, you buy your space. Most other tenants understand this. Artists create things that inspire or challenge us or bring beauty into our lives. But to demand that private property owners be legally obligated to rent to them at a loss is not part of the deal.