A Guide to Tenant Selection

The process of reaching out to and selecting the right tenants for your project is critically important for the success of your project. Your tenants, after all, will bring your project to life. Your objective will be to identify tenants who need and will benefit from affordable, secure and stable workspace and who can bring their energy and enthusiasm to animate the vision for the project.
Drafting Your Call for Proposals
The Call for Proposals (CFP) document is the tool Artscape uses to seek applicants as tenants for new projects. Similar to a Request for Proposals (RFP), the objective of the CFP is to generate a pool of applicants for space, to select from this pool and ultimately to complete leasehold agreements with selected applicants.

The CFP includes:
  1. A summary
  2. An introduction
  3. A description of the project vision
  4. Space descriptions/specifications
  5. The project timetable
  6. A description of the rental opportunities
  7. Information of tenant qualification and selection procedures
  8. Information of submission requirements and how to submit a proposal
  9. Deadlines and FAQs
  10. Next steps
  11. A confidentiality statement
  12. A statement of limitations

Click here to download a detailed Call for Proposals Template.


Call for Proposals Distribution
In addition to using your own mailing lists/databases you may want to work with other partners and organizations that have the ability to circulate the CFP to a broad range of potential partners. These “gateway organizations” may have been identified through an earlier REOI process.

The date of the release is primarily determined by your broader project deadlines. If you are trying to attract not-for-profit organizations as tenants you need to bear in mind that they will need to discuss a possible application with their board. In order to accommodate for not-for-profit board cycles you may need to allow a six- to eight-week period between the CFP release and  deadline for submissions.


Information Sessions
Artscape tries to provide all potential respondents with an opportunity to learn more about the project. This usually takes the form of a series of information sessions that outline the project and the CFP requirements. Where possible the sessions will be held in or near the site.


Advisory Committee Mandate and Member Selection
For the design and construction phase of each new project, Artscape establishes a volunteer community advisory committee to help shape the vision for the project, advise on community and stakeholder relations and assist with the selection and prioritization of tenants. These committees are often comprised of representatives from the board of directors, the local community and residential neighbourhood, Artscape tenants and the arts community at large.

The community advisory committee reviews each submission against the eligibility and assessment criteria articulated in the CFP and develops a consensus about which submissions are best suited to rent space and their location within the project. The results of the tenant qualification and selection process will determine the order of priority in making leasing opportunities available to interested parties.

The composition of the community advisory committee, including number of members and relevant skills or backgrounds, is determined by staff in response to the proposed vision for the project and to meet the needs of the community. Committee members are chosen for their diverse expertise and are expected to represent a point of view consistent with their background and experience. They should have the ability to provide fair and objective analysis based on assessment criteria, work collaboratively in a group decision-making process, articulate opinions clearly and remain open-minded. At all times, the composition of the selection committee must fairly represent the diversity found in the applicant base. All members of the committee will have an equal vote on all decisions except in a case of conflict of interest, where the committee member in conflict will not participate in a vote.


Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest
To ensure fair and equitable treatment without bias or prejudice, community advisory committee members are required to sign a confidentiality and conflict of interest agreement.

Community advisory committee members are required to use discretion and take all precautions to ensure that access to confidential information be restricted to authorized personnel only. Confidential information to individuals or organizations external to Artscape must be treated with a high level of discretion. Members of the community advisory committee will not divulge private or confidential information regarding applicant submissions to external parties.  

Community advisory committee members must also disclose conflicts of interest to staff who will consider the nature of the committee member’s responsibilities and degree of potential or apparent conflict in deciding the course of action required to remedy the conflict of interest. In the event of a conflict – for example, if a committee member has a professional working relationship with an applicant – the committee member will likely be required to leave the room and does not participate in the final decision for that applicant.

A conflict of interest occurs when a committee member attempts to promote a private or personal interest that results in an interference with the objective exercise of their responsibilities, or gains any advantage by virtue of his or her position as a member of the community advisory committee. Conflicts of interest may be real, potential or perceived.


Tenant Qualification and Selection Process
The goal of the tenant qualification and selection process is to establish a diverse mix of tenants for the project who have the: 1) vision; 2) programming and/or artistic practices; 3) interest in engaging audiences and/or community; and 4) leadership and financial capacity that will be key to its success.

Following the submission deadline, applicants undergo a two-step selection process. The community advisory committee reviews each submission against the eligibility and assessment criteria articulated in the CFP and develop a consensus about which submissions are best suited to rent space and their location within the project. The results of the tenant qualification and selection process will determine the order of priority in making leasing opportunities available to interested parties.

Step 1 – Eligibility
To be eligible to purchase or rent below-market space with Artscape, applicants must be either a not-for-profit arts or community organization or a professional artist. As a first step in the evaluation process, a committee of artistic peers is struck to determine the applicant’s eligibility status according to the following criteria:

A.    For not-for-profit arts and community organizations, applicants must be:
i.    Incorporated not-for-profit organizations
ii.    Demonstrate evidence of at least two years of sustained activity
 
B.    For professional artists, Artscape defines a professional artist by the following criteria:
i.    Has presented his/her work to the public by means of exhibitions, publications, performance, readings, screenings, or by any other means appropriate to the nature of his/her work

ii.    Is represented by a dealer, publisher, agent or similar representative appropriate to the nature of his/her work

iii.    Devotes a reasonable proportion of his/her professional time as an artist to promoting or marketing his/her work, including but not limited to: presenting him/herself for auditions; seeking sponsorship, agent or engagements; or similar activities appropriate to the nature of his/her work

iv.    Receives or has received compensation for his/her work, including but not limited to: sales; fees; commissions; royalties; residuals; grants and awards, any of which may reasonably be included as professional or business income

v.    Has record of income or loss relevant to the exploitation of his/her work and appropriate to the span of his/her artistic career

vi.    Has received professional training, either in an educational institution or from a practitioner or teacher recognized within their profession

vii.    Has received public or peer recognition in the form of honours, awards, professional prizes, or by publicly disseminated critical approval

viii.    Has membership in a professional association appropriate to his/her artistic activity whose membership or categories of membership are limited under standards established by the association; or which is a trade union or is its equivalent appropriate to his/her artistic ability
 
Please note: The committee is not charged with assessing the quality of an artist’s work. However, applicants must satisfy the committee of peers that they substantially qualify as a professional artist according to the above criteria but are not expected to meet each and every one.

Committee members must reach a consensus or majority opinion on the eligibility of each applicant. Applicants will move on to the assessment process if they receive a majority approval.

Step 2 – Assessment
The second step of the tenant qualification and selection process involves determining which applicants are best suited to the project’s vision, will make the strongest contributions to their audience or communities and have the leadership and financial capacity to do what they propose. In this stage of the evaluation, the community advisory committee assesses applications against the criteria below and assumes a curatorial role to determine which mix of tenants will create the diversity and synergies required to fulfill the vision and build the desired community within the project.


Selection Meeting Proceedings
Before the selection meeting, community advisory committee members are sent a package of information that includes the assessment criteria and copies of each application submission, along with supporting documentation. Each committee member must become familiar with the program, its assessment criteria and the vision for the particular project they are selecting tenants for. They are required to read all the applications and written support material, making notes about each application based on the assessment criteria and how well the applicants meet the vision for the project.

At the selection meeting, committee members must come prepared to discuss and rank each application according to how well the applicants meet the assessment criteria. After this discussion period, each applicant is ranked and the average scores establish an order of priority for which offers for tenancy will be made. In assessing the merit of applications to our projects, committee members are guided by the assessment criteria. Artscape’s selection process for tenancy does not currently include a review of the applicant’s work. However, interviews and site visits are occasionally used to inform the selection process.

Staff members chair the selection meeting, facilitate discussion and ensure that each applicant is treated equitably. Conflicts of interest must be declared at the beginning of the meeting and the project vision and assessment criteria are reviewed to ensure committee members have a shared understanding of the process. Staff oversee and record the ranking/scoring process for the tenant selection.


Ongoing Wait List Selection and Management
To ensure the selection process continues to maintain the highest standards, Artscape uses a peer adjudication system for the ongoing review and assessment of applications for the general wait list.

A tenant advisory committee (TAC) is formed as a sub-committee of the board of directors and consists of two board members and three tenants (each serving a two-year term). The TAC is mandated to review and make recommendations to Artscape regarding tenant policies, including selection processes, eligibility requirements and management of Artscape’s waiting lists.  

Artists and non-for-profit organizations are eligible to complete the online wait list request forms. Applicants are required to upload their artist CV or organizational history along with a brief letter of intent describing their proposed use of the space requested. They may also identify their location of interest and provide details about their desired live or work space, such as square footage, monthly rent, bedroom size, ventilation needs, etc.

Once received, the application package is sent to the members of the TAC who carefully review and assess each submission against the eligibility criteria. Again, the committee is not charged with assessing the quality of an artist’s work. However, applicants must satisfy the committee of peers that they substantially qualify as a professional artist according to the criteria. Registered not-for-profit organizations receive automatic approval.

Committee members must reach a consensus or majority opinion on the eligibility of each applicant. Once the applicant has received a majority approval from the TAC, the artist or organization’s name is added to the wait list. Members of the wait list are notified in chronological order, according to application date, when a vacancy arises that matches their space requirements and a viewing of the available studio will be scheduled at that time.

Click here for live/work and workspace waiting list templates.
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