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This Renovated Newburgh Warehouse Is a Headquarters for Creativity

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Developments in Newburgh are happening at a “blink and you’ll miss it” pace right now.

In the span of a matter of months, the Orange County city has announced a range of historic, mixed-used constructions that have the community than a little excited. Instead of breaking ground on new plots of land, these projects focus on longstanding buildings, ones that have withstood the test of time, even if they’re slightly worse for the wear from it. They’re not going up on Liberty Street or by the waterfront, either. Excitingly, they’re making bold moves in quieter parts of town where semi-forgotten structures sit longingly in wait of new lives.

ADS Warehouse Studio Newburgh

Photo by Gita Nandan / ADS Warehouse

And new lives they shall receive. Coming up, the city will unveil a spring factory-turned-mixed-use apartment hub on South William Street, a textile factory-turned-cidery on Little Britain Road, and a multi-building makerspace between Spring and South Lander Streets. In other words, it’s probably an excellent time to look into scooping up one of the nearby historic homes before they fly off the market for good.

Need more of an incentive to buy into the Newburgh hype? ADS Warehouse is it.

Located between Ann and Washington Streets, ADS, an art-focused rental and retail space, is the latest undertaking by creative couple Gita Nandan and Jens Veneman. Both Brooklynites, Nandan is an architect and the founder of thread collective, a design firm that specializes in net-positive environments, while Veneman is a trained sculptor and architectural fabricator known for his work with concrete, metal, and plaster casting.

The couple began looking at property in Newburgh as a more affordable, spacious home for Veneman’s sculpture studio.

“We knew we wanted to own our own space and, as an architect and a builder, it was important that the space was raw enough for us to have an influence and transform it into something that was ours and could be molded into our vision,” Nandan explains.

Since they had been coming to the Hudson Valley for decades, they were already familiar with Newburgh’s proximity to New York City, as well as its abundance of historic buildings, arts culture, and up-and-coming atmosphere. When they spotted the 8,500-square-foot, one-story building for sale at 105 Ann Street, they knew it would be a perfect fit.

Nandan and Veneman purchased the property, which began its life as a storage building for the Sears and Roebuck Company in the 1890s, in 2018 with plans to update it into a private studio space for themselves. Now, they’re looking forward to opening it up to the Hudson Valley community at large.

“When we found the ADS Warehouse, we realized we were in the middle of the downtown neighborhood and felt we should contribute to the city’s cultural scene and allow for something bigger than just ourselves,” Nandan says. Although the edifice was larger in scale than they originally intended, they soon realized it was just big enough to house not only their own studios, but also a handful of public studios and commercial retailers. They opted to keep the name ADS, which once stood for Advertising Digital Services, and transform its meaning into Art, Design, and Spirits to reflect their role within the community.

An inside look at Spirits Lab / Photo by Spirits Lab Distilling Co.

A multi-faceted endeavor, ADS boasts two retail units, two art studio rental spaces, a hybrid gallery and event venue called Das Gallery, and a courtyard on the Ann Street side for pop-up concepts and gatherings.

As per their initial vision, both Nandan and Veneman have private studios with access to a garden and an outdoor sculpture area. They’re committed to operating as a net-zero facility and have plans to install a 30kW solar array, an onsite composting system, and a green roof and gardens to offset energy consumption. Along the city parking lot, they hope to install a live wall for a bee pollinating habitat, with murals by local and visiting artists nearby.

In terms of opening dates at ADS, they’ll occur on a rolling basis. In one of the two commercial units, they’ve already welcomed a distillery. Spirits Lab Distilling Co. moved in during fall 2019 and plans to open in spring 2020. As the name suggests, it will produce small-batch spirits, with a cocktail bar, retail store, and tasting room onsite.

“The building is a bit of an ongoing project and will always be transforming,” Nandan observes. “We hope to host some of our first public events in early summer.”

Until then, she and Veneman have their work cut out for them as they update ADS bit by bit. They’re committed to hiring as many local fabricators and vendors as possible so as to further root themselves within the Newburgh community.

“We have separately and together lived in many communities that were in transition, and there is a certain energy that comes when you are a part of that transition,” Nandan observes. “Newburgh is a great location in terms of accessibility. It’s very walkable and bike-eable, and it has a great, diverse group of people who really love it.”

With events and programming scheduled for the upcoming months, visit ADS Warehouse’s website for an up-to-date events schedule.


Related: A Historic Newburgh Factory Transforms Into a Sleek Mixed-Use Apartment Hub

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