[hackerspaces] Dream Space

Bob Bownes bownes at gmail.com
Fri Dec 20 21:37:43 CET 2013

Many good suggestions, thanks!

Bit more overview. We are purchasing a 4 floor plus basement building.
About 10,000ft^2/floor. It was a classic department store from the 1840's
until the 1950's. Makerspace on the 1st floor, incubation space on 2nd
floor, traditional commercial offices on the 3rd/4th floors. And yes, we
know what we are getting into buying a 170 year old building. :) The
current owner is a co-developer on the project and will provide building
mgmt after completion.

We looked at doing hacker loft living space, but the $/ft numbers just
don't work out. I'd move in in a heartbeat, but $14/ft is above most folks
pain point. And the commercial space rent pays the overhead.

We get to start with an empty shell that has has modern electrical
switchgear installed in the last 5 years, along with a major structural
renovation and code audit already completed. Estimated cost to purchase and
renovate is in the area of 2.1M USD. (Accounting for a 10-25% budget
overshoot, since some of us have been down this road before) :)

We will be putting in all of the 'necessaries' as part of the initial fit
up. Vac, compressed air, electrical.  I'm in fact thinking we may do an
open style ceiling with cable trays. (the facility has 15+ft ceilings on
the first floor. Lower ceilings in the basement and 2,3,4th floors, but
those will mostly be office space.

Overhead rail/track crane in the 'high bay' space has been proposed.
Automotive lift was a possibility, but has been ruled out. Loading dock
will be a tight fit for a trailer > 50', but fine for anything less than

Dedicated welding, painting/finishing, biochem areas with their own
ventilation are planned for.

Some large open space for cutting tables for fabric is accounted for.

Space for general purpose computers as well as a CAD area are a definite. A
server room is also a given.

Large, bright windows at street level provide a good view into the space to
help draw foot traffic. Additionally, they will provide natural light for
social space, wood shop and textiles spaces.

Social space is mandatory. We do a fair amount of entertaining already.
Classroom spaces as well. Conference rooms for 8-20 on all floors. Teaching
kitchen is in the plan but may get cut due to lack of interest. Casual
kitchen is in the plan.

Roof gets solar and wind power gen. as well as space for other 'interesting
and future' projects.

2nd floor is 'innovation/incubation' space. A place for very small
companies who just need a desk or cube, those that need a private office,
as well as offices for an IPR lawyer, HR company, marketing company, and
CFO for hire.

Thanks again for all the input. Will keep everyone up to date on the

On Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 2:35 PM, Sam Ley <sam.ley at gmail.com> wrote:

> #1 is huge, and I agree completely. The biggest regret I have about our
> space in Boulder, CO (2,300 sq. ft.) is that we didn't invest sufficiently
> at the beginning to get the code problems and electrical situation sorted
> out prior to moving in. Now that it is filled to the brim, it is MUCH
> harder to deal with, and while we have come to some agreements with the
> city, we could have avoided much heartache by making sure the "blank slate"
> was in good shape.
> If I did it over again I'd have the fire inspector in there on day 1, run
> central ventilation/dust collection, and put 1-phase, 2-phase and 3-phase
> outlets all over the place.
> -Sam
> On Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 12:31 PM, Agent 5 <ag3nt5 at dc401.org> wrote:
>> Overhead tangle-free and cable managed 110vAC is worth it's weight in
>> gold. It's convenient, and it makes many tasks inherently safer.
>> -Dave
>> On Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 2:18 PM, Arclight <arclight at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> 5. Get more outlets than you think you need, including 220V. Laser
>>> cutters and machine tools usually need 220V, 20A, while larger TIG and MIG
>>> welders often need 50A. If you have any 3-phase tools, get power run for
>>> those as well. Get lots of outlets put in where people will use laptops and
>>> other stuff if you want to avoid a cord jungle later.
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