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Artists 1, Developers 0

Posted by Ralph Ranalli May 29, 2007 10:39 AM

Steven Branfman can now create his dream of an artists' collective in Needham.
(Globe staff photo by Bill Polo)


Potter Steven Branfman has received a thumbs up from the Zoning Board of Appeals to renovate and convert the 114-year-old Thorpe Street Mill into an artists' cooperative with 30 studios.

When asked by the board to define which types of artists will be allowed to use the property, Branfman said it would be open to a wide mix, including sculptors, jewelry designers, painters, landscape architects, graphic designers, musicians, Web architects, and craft makers.

Branfman who runs a business called The Potters Shop inside the mill, is purchasing the building for $100,000 from his close friend and landlord Lewis Cohen. Since January, the potter has been trying to save the mill from being sold to real estate developers who covet the woodsy property near the high school.

Now that he has the town’s permission, Branfman said he will commission the architectural blueprints and put the construction out to bid in the next few weeks. He he said he hopes to have the project started by August.

-– Lauren K. Meade

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