Members and friends of Making Awesome, Tallahassee's arts and technology makerspace.
Recently there was a proposal to raze several buildings in Railroad Square in order to make room for a new performing arts center. Our building was one of those. The project was not funded, and I thought that the pressure was off for finding a new space. Last week the landlord called and asked for a meeting. He told us that he needs more revenue from his properties in Railroad Square.
I want to be clear that no one is angry about this. Our landlord has been awesome and has been renting us the space at a price way below market value. We're grateful that we've been able to use the space for as long as we have. We have only gratitude for his kindness.
We have several options that need to be discussed and explored.
1. We can remain in our Railroad Square home if we increase the amount of money we pay. While we haven't discussed a specific amount, it would be at least twice what we pay now. If we take this option, it will take every bit of our current revenue and our small reserve fund. We might be able to maintain for as long as a year under this scenario with our current membership level.
2. We can find a new home at a reasonable rate. Our current space has about 3000 square feet. It's in an awesome location but the building is suboptimal with limited ventilation, and no plumbing. I'm thinking that we can do better.
3. We can partner with another organization (or organizations) and find a space together. This has pluses and minuses.
4. There are several other makerspaces/creative spaces that have opened in Tallahassee since we started, mostly funded by public money, and mostly associated with academic institutions. The other spaces concentrate on "clean" technologies like 3D printing but don't have dusty spaces like our wood and metal shops. We could decide to close down and see if someone else would pick up the slack.
This is not an unusual situation for makerspaces. Many spaces face problems with rising rents and the gentrification of neighborhoods. In some forward thinking communities, local government has provided a building for their local makerspace.
We have a couple of months, at least, to work this out, but time is flying. The best ways to communicate on this is either through email. You can reach me at [email protected], or our entire board, at [email protected]. We have a Facebook group, and a private discussion email group for members and friends of making awesome. To join the email forum, go here: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/tallymakers/join.
Thanks for being awesome and please feel free to share this as appropriate.
Making Awesome, Inc.