Equinox: CDFI Case Study

In 2006, Sam Farrazaino opened Equinox Studios as a community of artists and artisans in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood, with a unique business model: it is 100% tenant owned. Not only does this make artists invested in the Studio’s success, is also makes Equinox sustainable.

Today, Equinox houses 42 studios and shops with over 65 tenants. Artisan work ranges from blacksmithing and metal sculpture, to painting and ceramics, woodwork, leatherwork, glass, and photography, and the Equinox community culture encourages and fosters collaboration among the artists in residence.

The availability of artist work spaces has not kept up with demand in Seattle. So when Sam was presented with the opportunity to purchase the McKinnon and Commissary buildings adjacent to the current studio location, he took it. But banks said the construction and lack of liquidity was too risky.

Craft3 provided Equinox Studios with a State Small Business Credit Initiative loan for the purchase, repair, and remodel of the two buildings. In turn, Equinox created 73 jobs, leveraged $2.4 million in additional funds for the project and preserved $5.6 million in local real estate assets. This loan was possible with support provided by Washington State Department of Commerce to make State Small Business Credit Initiative loans to Washington businesses unable to access traditional sources of capital.