Noisebridge Space Program

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Noisebridge will be moving in 2018. We'll need everybody's help to make it happen.

NEXT Noisebridge Space Program meeting: TBD

This is a set of pages meant to facilitate the discussion on moving Noisebridge to a new physical location. We should use this space to capture consensus as it occurs, and to draw all our planning tools together.

Current Fundraising Progress

TBD - Progress bars?

The story so far, and how you can help

TBD - pending discussion of fundraising letter drafts


Next meeting Agenda:

See for notes and agenda

New Space 2017 Meeting Notes


If you would like to read the current version of the "Noisebridge Story" we have assembled for the Noisebridge Space Program please look at the locations below:

  • Noisebridge story resources:
    • tbd
    • tbd
  • Example fundraising letters and graphics
  • Noisebridge Logos are located at Identity


Here is a list of our current fundraising sub-projects. If you would like to participate in any of them please come to the Noisebridge Space Program meeting, or contact the leads for the specific sub-project.

  • Pineapple Fund
    • Patrick, Darryl, Gavin
    • A BTC fund worth $millions someone is giving away to non-profit groups
  • San Francisco Community Land Trust
    • Mitch
    • A non-profit that buys properties for SF coop housing and non-profit groups
  • San Francisco Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative
    • Contact: none yet
    • The Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative helps San Francisco’s nonprofits secure new, nonprofit-owned space and creates solutions for organizations seeking long-term leases.
  • Project Name
    • Contact(s)
    • Description of sub-project

New Location

Location Requirements

Primary Bonus
  • Within San Francisco
  • Walkable from BART
  • safe enough for walking at all hours
  • At least 5,500 sq. ft.
  • Elevator access or ground floor
  • Zoned to allow a Community Facility
  • at least 100A power supply
  • Neighbors who are not concerned about noise
  • Natural Light
  • Good Ventilation
  • Chill landlord, if leasing
  • Not too nice, easily to modify the interior spaces.

Potential Locations We are keeping track of locations that have come up in our searching here:

Here is the summary of the notable locations we have visited, specific details are on the Potential Locations spreadsheet:

If you have a building/space you would like to donate or know of a location that you think would work for Noisebridge. Please list it below and/or notify or come to a Noisebridge Space Program meeting.

Current Location Status

Our lease ends on August 31st, 2018 at 17:00. We are open to negotiating with the Landlord but the Landlord is not interested at the moment.

Noisebridge is currently approximately 5,550 sq. ft.

Our current rent is: $4,356/month ~ $0.79/sq. ft. /month

Possible Partners

  • The Lab
  • former TechShop members

Overall Project management

Important updates and information are being added to this wiki page. For a more active list of what is going on please see this trello board:

Frequently Asked Questions, not addressed above

Consensus Proposal

  Consensus Proposal

1. Noisebridge’s lease will end in August of this year. It has been made clear to us that it will not be renewed under any circumstances.

2. Noisebridge must survive not just as a nonprofit that exists only as a paper entity and bank account, or as a diffuse online community, but a physical location in the city that is accessible, near public transit, properly zoned for our use, and able to accommodate our growing size.

3. For this to happen, we will need to move. Our two options are to raise a lot of money to purchase a building that could serve as our permanent home, or raise a lot of money to sign a lease on a new location. Both options require much more money than we currently have and big new revenue streams.

4. It would be much better for us to purchase a building than to sign a lease, which would leave us vulnerable to future rent increases, and direct nearly all of our future revenue into our landlord’s pocket instead of investing it into real property we own outright.

5. The preferred option to finance a building purchase would be to borrow money from individuals through simple promissory notes secured against the building being purchased but without any liens. This method was successfully pioneered by Alan Beatts, the owner of Borderlands Books, whose customers loaned him $1.3M to purchase a permanent location on Haight Street in amounts ranging from $250,000 to $10,000 per lender.

6. The terms of the note are simple: Borrower pays 3% interest on the principal to the lender once per year, for nine years, with a balloon payment of the entire principal at the end of nine years. There is no penalty for pre-payment.

7. Mr. Beatts has shared the promissory note he used, which we can modify for our own use. He has also offered to introduce us to his real estate broker, lawyer, and accountant, and provide any advice he can, provided we have clear points of contact and an efficient decision-making process.

8. Financing and purchasing a building is a large undertaking that will require us to make hundreds of decisions between now and the end of August regarding loans, grants, purchase agreements, inspections, and professional services. If we can not make these decisions efficiently, we will not be able to purchase a building (or sign a lease, for that matter), and Noisebridge will be displaced by fall of this year, maybe permanently.

9. The “administration” of Noisebridge, including our bylaws, nonprofit corporation, board of directors, and board officers, are basically our API for interacting with the outside world. Internally, we make decisions through do-ocracy and consensus. When we need to work with the outside world, we do so via that API.

10. Brief description of the way payments work now: Most of our payments for critical expenses, like rent, utilities, and garbage collection, are automated. Most payments that can not be automated are made by board officers — the treasurer (John Shutt), president (Patrick O’Doherty), or secretary (Victoria Fierce) — either online or by check. In rare cases payments are made by co-founders of the space who have access to our bank account, Mitch Altman or Andy Isaacson.

11. Looking at our “API,” the most logical points of contact for cutting checks, entering loan agreements, and signing off on purchases are the board officers: the treasurer, president, and secretary. They have the clear legal authority to enter into agreements on behalf of Noisebridge, and their roles will be clearly understood by people outside of the Noisebridge community.

12. The current board officers are John Shutt (treasurer), Patrick O’Doherty (president), and Victoria Fierce (secretary). The board of directors can choose to retain these three as board officers or appoint different people. When doing so, they should follow the lower-case-c consensus of the community.

13. The current board officers must consider whether they have the bandwidth to do all of the work involved in acquiring a new building. If they simply don’t have the time, think someone else would be better suited for the task right now, or would rather spend their Noisebridge time on other important tasks like fundraising, press outreach, party organizing, safe space volunteering, teaching classes, or simply hacking on fun projects, they should pass their title to someone with lots of time and interest in doing paperwork.

14. The board officers of Noisebridge are empowered by consensus to enter into loan agreements, building purchase negotiations, and legal contracts on behalf in Noisebridge in the interest of acquiring a suitable building to be our permanent home.

15. Board officers are expected to follow their best understanding of lower-case-c consensus when making decisions. They will be efficient, but not hasty. They will seek feedback on major decisions.

16. Major decisions should not be surprising or unwanted by the community. Board officers must keep everyone as up-to-date on their actions related to the hunt for a new space as possible, given time constraints and the fact that everyone is a volunteer with a day job. At the bare minimum, they will log all of their actions and write a report once a week that can be read at the Tuesday meeting.

17. As a practical matter, certain details about purchase negotiations may need to be kept off of the public Internet, to avoid being undercut by real estate speculators. For example, we may discover a property listing that has not been posted publicly, and do not want to alert competitors who may bid for the property. Or maybe the city hints that they may offer a city-owned property for sale at a discount, but negotiations are ongoing and it may not be the right time to reveal details to the press. The specific dollar amount of any bid we make when negotiating a building purchase is something else we will probably want to keep offline until the deal is closed.

18. For any details that are kept off of the public Internet, board officers must still flag that the private information exists. They must share that information privately with any member who is interested, with the proviso that it should be kept from the press and any possible competing bidders.

19. It is expected that a follow-on consensus proposal will outline a vision for what Noisebridge wants and needs in its new home, and that board officers will follow that vision in all of their work.

20. Nothing in this proposal implies that all or even most of the work in acquiring a new space will be done by board officers, or that their voices have more weight in making big-picture decisions. The sole purpose of this proposal is to empower them to make the hundreds of necessary executive decisions to pull this off, and to act as the points of contact for the outside world. The board officers do not make big-picture decisions themselves, but implement the consensus of the community in an efficient way.

21. This proposal does not expand the role of board members or board officers beyond what is necessary to acquire a permanent home for Noisebridge. For example, this consensus proposal empowers a board officer to acquire a $50,000 loan on Noisebridge’s behalf to purchase a new building, but would not empower them to acquire a $50,000 loan to purchase new fabrication equipment once that building is secured.

22. This consensus proposal will automatically expire after eight months or after we move into a new building, whichever comes sooner, and would need to be renewed by full consensus.

2009 Move page