Intermedia Arts, the financially troubled Twin Cities arts organization that laid off its entire staff and suspended the bulk of operations Sept. 29, has decided to sell its two-parcel property in the trendy Lyn-Lake area of Minneapolis.
“Outstanding obligations leave us with no choice other than to move forward with the sale of our building,” Omar Akbar, the group’s co-president, said in a statement Tuesday.
The building will go on the market in a few weeks, he said. Asked in an interview whether Intermedia will be reconstituted in a new space, Akbar said: “It’s a legitimate question and one that we simply can’t answer at the moment.”
Intermedia purchased the former Bee-Line auto repair shop at 2822 Lyndale Av. S. in 1994 with a $230,000 loan from the Minneapolis Community Development Agency. About $425,000 remains on the mortgage. The property was last appraised at $1.5 million about 18 months ago, according to internal notes viewed by the Star Tribune. A new appraisal is being ordered, Akbar said.
The move comes after the organization met with key stakeholders, including longtime funders the McKnight and Bush foundations, to address its financial crisis.
“We understand the magnitude of this decision and are committed to a process that mirrors the mission of Intermedia,” Akbar said. “We are working on alternatives to deliver Intermedia’s key programs.”
Akbar said the board also finally delivered Tuesday on what he called its “first priority” — paying staff members for their final days of work. “Suffice it to say, we are grateful to these individuals for their dedication to Intermedia and their patience over the past few weeks.”
Financial reports obtained by the Star Tribune showed that costs had increased sharply at Intermedia even as fundraising declined in the past few years. In fiscal 2015 — the most recent financial report made public — the organization spent $1.58 million while taking in only about $732,000 in revenue.
A 44-year-old multi-genre organization, Intermedia has served as a magnet for emerging artists such as performance poets, dancers and filmmakers while providing a haven for immigrants, people of color and members of the GLBTQ community.
Intermedia has numerous community partners and also rents out its facilities — including a 120-seat theater, an art gallery and a shared workspace called ArtsHub — to a range of nonprofits and businesses.