Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Since January, the empty vaults have been serving as rehearsal space for live theater productions, musical groups, writers and multimedia performers - all of whom find themselves plying their art in a neighborhood far more famous for commerce than culture.

"I didn't even notice the artists working in the building until one day I saw a guy in a leotard walking through the lobby," says Daniel Ghadamian, a partner at Capstone Equities, which purchased the landmark building last year.

While renovating and leasing the 37 above-ground floors, Capstone agreed to donate the vault space on a month-by-month basis to the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Swing Space program. The LMCC then offered the free rehearsal space to local artists, who have found themselves working in vast windowless tombs designed more for the security of currency than the comfort of creative souls.