Steve Mitnick, owner of STORExpress, a Pennsylvania-based self-storage operation, recently opened 448 Studios Artspace and Bandrooms, a mixed-use facility in Etna, Pa. The two-story building comprises 40 spaces designed specifically for use by artists and musicians. Facility amenities include free WiFi, natural skylights, modern ventilation systems, a community lounge and chalkboard walls, according to the company’s website.
Mitnick purchased the property two years ago and decided to open a facility dedicated to mixed use after offering band-practice rooms at a STORExpress location on Pittsburgh’s South Side.
“Steve was going to do office spaces, but I thought we should try band rooms. So we did them on the first floor, and they were doing really well,” said Jen Gindele, facility manager. “Then something sparked in him when one of our band-room tenants was also very artsy. She sparked the interest, and it took off from there.”
The studio concept has been a hit with local artists. The facility houses 37 tenants, leaving just 10 spaces unoccupied, according to the source. Studio space ranges from 100 to 325 square feet, with rents between $170 and $350 per month. Tenants have 24-hour access.
“I’ve been hired to paint pieces for the San Francisco 49ers along with several other artists, and this is the ideal space to work in,” said tenant Tom Mosser. “It’s the best studio situation I’ve ever had.”
“There’s a wonderful community atmosphere,” added Melissa Kuntz, also an artist tenant. “Of all the studios I’ve worked in, this is the best one. I like that everyone here has a career, and they’re working, too.”
In addition to painters, tenants include glass workers, jewelry makers and a personal trainer, according to the source.
Founded in 1998, STORExpress operates seven self-storage facilities serving Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania.