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Read's Artspace

Bringing Vitality to Downtown Bridgeport

1042 Broad Street, Bridgeport, CT, 06604




Resident Artist

Meeting in Gallery

Studio Interior

Resident Artist





When it opened in 1925, Read’s was hailed as the finest department store between New York and Boston. Five stories tall, with green awnings that gave it an instantly identifiable look, Read’s was a luxurious new symbol of Bridgeport’s sophistication and prosperity. But times change: by the 1970s, downtown Bridgeport had fallen on hard times. Read’s closed its doors in 1981 and became emblematic of urban decay.

In the late 1990s, the City of Bridgeport engaged Artspace to transform this urban landmark into an affordable artist live/work project. In collaboration with Mission First Capital Advisors of Washington, D.C., Artspace created 61 spacious live/work units on the upper floors and arts-friendly commercial space on the ground floor.

The $14.1 million conversion restored the 121,000-square-foot building to its original appearance. Broad interior corridors serve as informal galleries on each of the upper five floors; a public gallery on the ground floor houses more formal exhibitions. Read’s new tenants were true urban pioneers: until they moved in, downtown Bridgeport’s residential population was zero. 

Development Cost

$14.1 million


Crosskey and Associates

Development Consultant

Mission First Capital Advisors

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Our Thanks to...

Apollo Housing Capital, LLC

Bank of America

Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation

City of Bridgeport

Connecticut Housing and Finance Authority

Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development

Fleet Bank

People’s Bank


Bank of America

Betty R. Sheffer Foundation

Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation

Bridgeport Regional Business Council

Chase Bank

City of Bridgeport

Connecticut Housing and Finance Authority

D. Culpepper Foundation

Downtown Special Services District

Edward S. Moore Foundation

Fairfield County Community Foundation

General Electric Fund

Greater Bridgeport Area Foundation

Kreitler Foundation

Melville Foundation

O’Grady Family Foundation

People’s Bank

Southern Bell Company / Southeast New England Telephone

United Illuminating