UPDATE: we have signed the contract on this space.
Today we went to look at a potential new space being set up by Cloud Aerial Arts which we came across via the power of Twitter. Maria has just taken on the space and is planning to convert it from this:
to a selection of shiny new workshop spaces. She is offering to divide the space in a way that would work for us.
Go to the proposed floor plan
So the important stuff:
Wellington House, M40 7FS
Tram: Holt Town (2 min walk)
Busses: 216/231 from Pic Gdns every 10 mins or so until 03h each day.
Car parking: there limited off street parking alongside the building and a fair amount of on street parking outside.
Walking: it’s a 25 min walk from Pic Gdns, 20 from Pic Station.
Does it fulfil our requirements?
TL;DR yes, it absolutely does.
It is within budget at around £1100 pcm. We are taking approximately 1500 square feet of space (138 square meters) on a 3 year lease, if we need more space we can expand into the other workshops being put in to the space (obviously this will increase our rent).
It’s not ready for us to move in yet (the windows need replacing) and partitions need to be installed however, we will be able to start moving in before the end of our contract. We will be looking for volunteers to assist with cleaning, painting, moving, plumbing etc.
OK so the list:
Minimum Viable Product: these are the things that we must have in order to function as a makerspace:
- Toilet facilities ✓ — at present the toilet is a grubby room with a toilet sat in the middle of it (not plumbed in) that’s going to be turned into a proper toilet for the use of all of the tenants in our small area of the building.
- Running water ✓
- Electricity ✓
- Ability to fit internet ✓ — decent internet would also be welcome on the top floor which is Cloud Aerial Arts floor
- 24 hour access ✓
- In Central Manchester (within the red circle) & near good transport links (bus/tram/train) ✓
- One external wall for fume extraction purposes (other walls, floor and roof would be handy too) ✓ — we actually have contact with two external walls, the windows are being replaced and Maria is happy to fit extraction to one of the new windows in our section so the laser extraction tube doesn’t have to be thrown out of the window a la an old fashioned washing machine hose
- Minimum term for lease: 3 years. ✓
These are things we would very much like our new space to have in order to be accessible to all. Unfortunately we are running out of time to find somewhere and have a tight budget to work with, if it comes to a choice between having a space at all and fulfilling all of the requirements on this list, we will compromise on the below and look for a better location at the end of the new lease.
- Disabled access ✓ — there is a goods lift at the back of the building which all members can use should they need to do so, there is a code to operate the lift and unfortunately does need some oomph to open and close the doors so those using it may find they require assistance.
- Own street door (person sized) ✓
- Within the green circle — it’s just outside the green circle
- Heating — not yet. It still has holes in the windows
- Insulation — no, however, it’s on the first floor so wont be as susceptible to temperature changes as the current space is, the windows are being double glazed and there are internal walls being fitted
- Windows ✓
- Car parking ✓
Nice to have
These would be lovely but aren’t essential.
- Multiple rooms ✓ — we can fit partitions into our section in order to create multiple rooms
- 3 phase — we believe so – Maria will confirm next week
- Outdoor space for activities such as welding ✓
- Ground floor – nope but we have access to a lift
What’s the area like?
Wellington House is near Bridge 5 Mill (home of MERCi) and on the edge of the new developments taking place in Ancoats, New Islington &c
Like many of the buildings in the area it houses a variety of artists, musicians, dancers and other creatives.
The mill itself has a funky feel to it, we’d be working with other people who want to improve the mill and would be surrounded by artists and makers from a variety of backgrounds who work in media that we wouldn’t necessarily consider.
The towpath, in fact the whole area has a bit of a post-industrial feel to it however, it’s outside the red light district (which we know was an issue for some people), and doesn’t feel particularly “stabby” (also a concern voiced by some). Overall the area has an up and coming feel (think the Northern Quarter 5 or 6 years ago). Our potential new landlord is a dancer, who runs classes until 21h Monday–Friday and lives in her words a 5 minute walk from the mill, therefore walks home.
What would the space look like?
This is what it looks like now:
We would take up about 2/3 of the space available. The fire escape at the bottom left of the image needs to be accessible by all tenants of the floor. The shared toilet is top right and the kitchen area is in the corridor outside our space.
This is one suggestion for the layout of the space, nothing is fixed yet and if you can come up with a better layout let us know.
- The messy workshop area has extraction available, and is close to the kitchen/toilet therefore can have sinks. This space does not have natural light.
- Members storage doesn’t need natural light or extraction therefore has been placed in the middle.
- Electronics, laser cutter, metalworking and 3D Printers are in the larger “clean” area. The laser cutter needs to be next to the windows, and extraction will be via a dedicated extractor connection (no more open windows!). Electronics is under the windows, giving good light during the day.
- We have another fire escape at the bottom right of the plan, which is purely within our space.
- Solid fuel stoves are NOT allowed, due to someone almost burning the building down.