Archive:New Space Search 2012

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We're looking for a new space to move in once we've got some savings in the bank. We won't be in such a rush to move as last time.

The right space could allow us to run things such as a permanent licensed bar, which could be a boon to the community and also increase our revenue.

Self-referential thread of interest; New space?


With a continued rate of growth we will hopefully see an increase in recurring revenue from the current level of £4,800/month to around £6,000/month.

Ideally we should be looking for somewhere which is less shiny than our current location, so we can make our own mark on the space without having to undo a lot of work when we leave. Think factories and warehouses more than offices.

We'll probably want to keep approximately the same split of areas as our current space, without reducing any of them in size.

High level requirements

  • At least 5000 sq ft (460 sq m) - our current place is 2600 sq ft.
  • In Zone 1 or 2. No further than 2 miles from our current location (because it could cause a disruptive change in our membership when we want it least).
  • B1 or B2 use class
  • Price less than £6000/month (£75,000/year) inc. service charge & VAT - i.e. less than £15.00/sq ft.
  • No more than 0.5 miles to a tube/overground station
  • Ground floor OR goods lift
  • Separate entrance. Landlord has to be comfortable with hundreds of people having access.
  • Noise allowed. We make a lot of noise, and a residential area isn't going to cut it.
  • Has some natural light

Possible requirements (wishlist)

We won't be able to satisfy all of these, but the more the better.

  • A building to ourselves, we'd rather not be renting a unit.
  • Roof access
  • somewhere secure for bikes
  • usable outside area; ideally large enough for firing trebuchet/rockets/pigs.
  • convenient parking for motorbikes, cars, etc

Non-functional requirements

  • Friendly landlord
  • Easy access
  • Fantastic views


447-453 Hackney Road

Advanced planning

Moved to: Hackspace Move.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do we really need to expand?

It's a judgment call, but there are a few arguments for further expansion.

First of all it needs to be pointed out that every time we moved or expanded the space, our community grew along with it and quickly filled the available space. (We last expanded in January 2011 to double our space, and within a year already filled that space.)

There are a number of problems with our current space:

  • We can't hold workshops with more than 15 people.
  • We're running out of storage space (e.g. for member boxes), and can't set up any new infrastructure that requires a lot of space (such as more workbenches in the workshop.) We can't accommodate project work that requires a lot of space.
  • At peak times (evenings) the workshop frequently gets busy enough that people need to share workbenches. It gets harder to work with bulky materials without getting into someone's way.
  • We can't even promote the Hackspace in a big way; for the last year we've declined interview requests because we currently cannot accommodate a potential flood of new members.

There's an argument to make that more space would also address some of our social problems:

  • We're now at a community size where not everyone knows everyone else any more, and certain social mechanisms stop working; for example some people may feel that tools get abused, or workspace does not get cleaned up, and it's not clear who was the culprit. (See Broken.)
  • One way of coping with such a large community is to start segmenting it into subgroups, something we're already doing (biohackers, music hackspace, graphics hackspace, ...)
  • In a perfect world we would be able to give each larger subgroup their own space (for example their own room), and the ability to run it as they see fit (to set up their own rules for tool access, maintenance, etc); to re-introduce a sense of ownership.
  • Our current space in Cremer St does not accommodate such a subdivision. A larger space would help.

How will we finance a move?

  • We will publish a detailed moving budget once we're close to committing to a new space. (Todo: insert Russ' budget spreadsheet as an example.)
  • We have a bit of money in the bank for circumstances like this, and we expect that a new space will increase membership (this happened every time we moved/expanded)
  • We will under no circumstances raise the £5 minimum donation threshold for members.
  • Instead we will likely ask existing members to increase their monthly donation, e.g. "double it if you can." (Russ made a scatterplot of current donations, ordered by member ID.)
  • Additionally we may invite one-off donations from members and generous donors, seek a loan (external or from members), etc

Will a new location add to my travel time?

It is unlikely that we will ever find another space as close to a train station as Laboratory 24, with Hoxton station around the corner. It is possible that any new location will involve additional travel time by foot to get to the closest station. We will try our best...

We don't know how many people actually use the East London Line to come to the space, but it seems likely that most visitors use a variety of transport means to get to the space (e.g. multiple trains or bus lines.) Also note that East London (particularly the Hackney/Tower Hamlets area) generally has great bus connections to many parts of the city. In combination this means you may have to change your route, but total travel time may not change by much.

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