A large group of us recently looked at the 2,800 square foot space at 850 St. Paul Street I recently told you about. I think everybody liked it. I thought we had an easy decision to make but then we got a big surprise.
The landlord knows I’ve been worried about quickly outgrowing the space so he offered to put us in an 18,000 square foot space and just charge us for the amount of space we actually use. His generous offer will allow us to grow as quickly as we can, without having to worry about starting out in a space that might be much too small, or too big and unaffordable.
Private Work Areas
The extra space means we’ll be able to support more tools, activities and members. But there’s another reason why we’ve been worried about having enough space. We want to have enough room to be able to offer our members private work and storage areas at a low cost and without a long commitment. (Don’t worry, there will also be plenty of free workspace.)
We want to do so because we think there’s a strong need for it and it will benefit many in the Rochester community. We’ve already received inquires from people asking if they can rent space inside our makerspace. And we know that other makerspaces have had a strong demand for similar space.
Artisan’s Aslyum is a good example. They have 90 private spaces ranging in size from 25 to 250 square feet that are fully rented and have a waiting list. The extra revenue from those spaces has made financially stable and it has helped pay for some very impressive tools and programs. So we want to find out if their model will also work here in Rochester.
To rent a space you’ll need to be a member and we haven’t talked much about how much that will cost. We’re not sure yet, but a monthly membership will probably be $65 and we may offer a very substantial discount to those who are willing to take a chance on us and pay for a year’s membership in advance. We may not do it right away but we’ve also considering daily, student, and family memberships, along with scholarships.
Getting back to private work areas, the huge space we’ve been offered comes with many details that haven’t been worked out yet and maybe some problems. For example, it’s a great space but it’s nowhere near as bright and inviting as the smaller one. So we would really like to know how much interest there is in private work areas before we accept the landlord offer. And unfortunately, we can’t tell you a lot of details yet. Even basic information like how much it’s going to cost. Although, I can tell you that we will keep the cost as affordable as possible.
A Decision Will Be Made Soon
Although it may seem like it, renting space at 850 St. Paul is not a done deal. The building and spaces are great, it’s centrally located and easy to get to from 490, we really like the landlord, and the rent is extremely affordable. And the neighborhood is not bad, although it’s not a great one either.
But we learned at TEDxRochester about some other locations that need to be considered and a commercial real estate agent began helping us for free. So our already very overloaded group of volunteers is responsibly looking at other possibilities. But we are not going to keep looking indefinitely and we are probably going to choose a space to rent within the next couple of weeks. We’d really like to get your input before we do that. So there will probably be a meeting and you can always contact us or leave a comment.