We received this email from Jim Newton (pictured below), founder and chairman of TechShop, where makers and DIYers gather in Menlo Park:
“We are writing to you today with an urgent situation facing TechShop Menlo Park and to ask for your help in meeting this challenge head-on.
“At the end of last week, we received notice from our landlord that TechShop must vacate our Menlo Park location by October 31st. In spite of our best efforts, negotiations have failed to produce even a short term extension of our lease to early 2014.
“This means we have an opportunity to build a brand new shop that incorporates the very best features of the newest TechShops we’ve been launching across the country. However, given that it takes 4 to 5 months to design, build and provision a new TechShop, we are left with two options: We need to either move TechShop Menlo Park to a temporary location with a reasonable subset of tools, equipment and programs, or temporarily close it down.
“Obviously, we want this situation to have as little impact on your membership as possible, but we have not yet found a viable temporary location. So we are asking for your help identifying possible locations for a temporary TechShop. Listed below are the requirements for a temporary location – all leads will be appreciated!
“Designing and building a new TechShop elsewhere on the Mid-Peninsula means we are looking to raise approximately $2.5 million to build the very best TechShop location yet – a new flagship store. Our goal is to raise this money through $25,000 loans from members and the local maker community (as we did originally for TechShop Menlo Park, TechShop San Francisco, and TechShop San Jose), as well as through membership sales, contributions, and an upcoming IndieGogo campaign currently in the works.
“Over the next week or two we will be sharing further details about how you can help us achieve our twin objectives of securing a temporary location and funding the development of a new permanent TechShop Menlo Park.
“Here’s how you can help:
“1. Attend either of the two information meetings at TechShop Menlo Park:
- Saturday, Aug 24th at noon
- Sunday, Aug 25th at 3:00 pm
“2. If you know of a space the meets the following criteria please email us at thenewTSMP@techshop.com.
- Within 5 miles of TechShop Menlo Park (i.e. Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Redwood City, Stanford)
- 8,000 to 12,000 square feet
- 10′ to 14′ clear height
- Safe parking for up to 40 cars; some street parking is fine.
- Ideally slab concrete floor on ground floor. If a second floor, we may need an operable freight elevator
- Power – 400-800 amp service at 240V
“We are working around the clock to meet this challenge head-on. We will spare no effort. But we very much need the help of Silicon Valley’s makers to keep the lights on in this valuable community resource. If you can possibly help, we would be delighted to hear from you. Regardless, we intend to keep you informed throughout the process.”
Photo of Tech Shop Menlo Park taken by Chris Gulker in 2009; photo of Jim Newton, courtesy of Techshop