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Barcroft Apartments developer bringing new community art space to the Pike

A new sign is installed at Studio PAUSE on Columbia Pike (courtesy of Krista Brick)

The real estate company renovating and redeveloping the Barcroft Apartments is helping a local art studio expand its reach.

After renovating a Western Union in the Barcroft Shopping Center on Columbia Pike, owner Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners donated the lease to Studio PAUSE. There, the Arlington-based studio will host art and writing workshops, which will be free for Barcroft residents but for a fee for other community members.

With loans from Arlington County and Amazon, Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners the Barcroft Apartments in 2021 with plans to set aside all 1,344 units for affordable housing. At the time, it also purchased a Penske rental facility and nearby strip mall, which the company says it has no “immediate” plans to redevelop, but could nonetheless figure into future plans.

Instead, Jair Lynch views the shopping center as a place to foster the existing community at Barcroft — through the arts.

“The Barcroft Shopping Center adjacent to the Barcroft Apartments property is not just a convenient location for an arts center, it is already occupied by beloved retail tenants like Goodwill and Café Sazón,” Krista Brick, a representative for Jair Lynch, told ARLnow.

“The location along the Columbia Pike Corridor encourages members of the Barcroft community and our neighbors to learn from each other in a setting that fosters understanding and expression,” she continued.

The former Western Union space will be the third location for Studio PAUSE, which has also received donations from the county.

“Working with local community advocate BU-GATA and the Columbia Pike Partnership, the location was identified as a prime opportunity to work with Studio PAUSE to celebrate the diversity of Barcroft and empower our residents to tell their story through art,” said Mark Hannan, an investment manager at Jair Lynch, in a press release.

Studio PAUSE — an acronym for “People, Art, Understand, Share, Explore” — was started by Sushmita Mazumdar in 2013. The writer, artist and educator wanted to create a space where people could share stories and explore their creativity. Mazumdar is also part of the Columbia Pike Documentary Project, which will display photos, books and interviews in the new studio space.

The studio currently runs programs in the Gates of Ballston apartment complex, run by nonprofit affordable housing developer AHC Inc.

“We believe the collaboration between Barcroft Apartments and Studio PAUSE will provide a much-needed space for creativity, arts, and mental wellness,” said Columbia Pike Partnership Executive Director Kim Klingler in the press release. “We look forward to collaborating and making this a welcoming space for the community.”

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