Too Good To Be True? The Opportunity and Cost of the $1 Building

We are excited to share our latest report, Too Good to be True? The Opportunity and Cost of the $1 Building. Commissioned by the Kresge Foundation, Too Good to be True takes a close look at the impact of newly acquired buildings – all either free or low-cost – on organizations’ financial health and artistic outcomes. The study found that the actual building acquisition costs were much higher than initially expected, and indeed more closely resembled traditional facilities projects. The acquisition of these facilities also had unanticipated impacts on organizations’ operating models and in some cases, artistic products and audience relationships. Finally, the report reveals that the various stakeholders involved in these projects had different motivations.

Interviewees, including organizational leaders, funders and city officials, reflect on their experiences with these “$1 buildings” and share lessons that they hope will be useful to other organizations and communities considering similar facilities deals.