Brooklyn Arts Center To Add Rental Property To Its Campus

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Aug 4, 2021
Construction is under way at Ms. Cat's Cottage, a new nightly stay option set to come to the Brooklyn Arts Center in late September. (Photo courtesy of Jay Tatum)
The Brooklyn Arts Center will soon add a stay-in option to the business, an early 1930s home next to the venue’s campus.

Construction, including major renovations and updates, are ongoing at Ms. Cat’s Cottage, a two-bedroom, one-bathroom home located behind The Annex building at the Brooklyn Arts Center, 516 N. Fourth St., in downtown Wilmington.

The addition to the Brooklyn Arts Center will bring a nightly stay component to the venue for brides, bands and other clients, Jay Tatum, owner of the Brooklyn Arts Center, said this week.

“It was a no-brainer … we were looking at what Airbnbs were renting for and what hotel rooms are going for, and we constantly have clients asking, ‘Where can we stay?’ And now they can stay right here,” Tatum said.

The Brooklyn Arts Center purchased the 957-square-foot home in November for about $134,000 and plans to invest more than $100,000 in the property for updates and renovations, he said.

Demolition took place late last year and early this year, with renovations to the home starting in April, he said. Tatum anticipates the cottage opening for rentals in late September.

Renovations for Ms. Cat's Cottage were designed by Romero Architecture, and Urban Building Corp. is performing construction work.

The home was previously owned by Ms. Cat, or Catherine Grantham (pictured at right), and was a special gathering place for many in her family, Tatum said.

"Ms. Cat, she had been living in that house since the 1950s. And she raised her children in there, and her daughter's children called that home as well," Tatum said. "Their family was a big part of the Brooklyn Arts Center -- every day working here at Brooklyn Arts Center, we would always see Ms. Cat."

Tatum had developed a close relationship with Grantham and her family since he took ownership of the venue in 2018, he said.

When Grantham's family decided to move her to Georgia and sell the property, Tatum purchased the home to become part of the Brooklyn Arts Center campus, he said.

The new rental property has been named Ms. Cat's Cottage in honor of Grantham, he said.

Plans are for the starting rental rate to be about $300 a night, depending on the time of year and day of the week, with a two- to three-night minimum, Tatum said.

“Our goal is to really focus on letting our clients rent it from us,” he said. “We have a ton of clients that are interested in it. But come January, when things slow down around here traditionally, we could open up to other people.”

Clients have already expressed interest in renting Ms. Cat's Cottage this year. The Brooklyn Arts Center has a running list of clients who want to book the cottage starting in September and has some clients looking to book out in 2022, he said.

The Brooklyn Arts Center is also hoping to utilize the home for bands that come to play concerts at the venue.

“We’ve always had bands ask us if we had a nightly rental. So now we will be able to offer that to bands that are performing here too,” Tatum said.

Other amenities are slated to include off-street parking, a fire pit and electric bikes for riding around the city.

Tatum said, “We’re just going to really dial it in, so it’s a good experience for anyone staying in the Brooklyn Arts neighborhood.”
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