Mount Rainier “Artists By the Tracks” Studio Complex Sold to New Owner

By Michael Janis on May 24, 2022
Overhead view of Mount Rainier “Artists-By-The-Tracks” complex showing proposed solar panels.

The four-building, art-focused warehouse cluster of studios often referred to as “Artists By the Tracks,” just over the DC line in Mount Rainier, MD, recently sold. Located in the Gateway Arts District, it is home to many regional creative tenants, such as Washington Glass SchoolWhite Point Studio, and Otis Street Arts Project. The complex was purchased by Nobody Properties LLC from Widmayer Properties which had owned the buildings since they were initially constructed in the 1950s and 1960s.

Concerns that the new owner would evict the existing artist tenants and remake the holdings into high density residential—as is happening with alarming regularity in DC—seem to be abated. The new owner has promised to keep the art studios in place which, in turn, has allowed some of the studio occupants to be optimistic. David Mordini, owner and founder of Otis Street Arts Project, and tenant since 2015 says “The proposal of changes to the complex made by Nobody Properties are as good as we could have hoped for.  We knew John [Widmayer Properties] was looking to sell these buildings for a couple years and were braced for what seems to be the fate of all arts areas on the fringe of the city.” 

Exterior of 3700 Otis Street, currently home to Washington Glass School. Rendering courtesy Nobody Properties, LLC.

Nobody Properties LLC is looking to enhance and expand the existing art facilities, make repairs and improvements to the physical structures, and install solar panels on the buildings. In addition, the studios’ cinder blocks will soon feature colorful murals that wrap the buildings’ façades. The new owner hopes to create an outdoor mural destination for visitors similar to DC’s Blagden Alley Museum, a project in which they were involved. These new murals will be created by local, national and international artists. Production on the new murals is slated to begin summer of 2022.