Summary of discussion around moving from 2169 into 272

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For many weeks now, at our weekly Meetings, we've been discussing moving from 2169 Mission (hereafter, 2169) to a new location at 272 Capp St (hereafter, 272).

Partly due to the set of participants rotating from week to week, a lot of the same arguments and rebuttals and facts have been brought up in one meeting after another. This meeting is an attempt to gather that information in one spot so we can make an educated decision without spending another two hours rehashing things already said, particularly as the Consensus item around signing the lease approaches.

Relevant Slack channels include #new-space, #inspection, and #nbremain.


This page takes the style of a FAQ, with information sourced from the Meeting Notes of previous meetings. Wherever possible, it should be attributed to a specific speaker in a specific meeting, like so: {{cite|meeting=2020 05 19|speaker=So-and-so}}. (Note the date format: Year, month, day, separated by spaces. Any other date format will not work.)


Do we need to move?[edit]

Yes, we need to move.

The landlord: Our current landlord is not happy with us. They got hit with an issue that landed them in court, due to NoisebridgeRyan in the 2020 02 11 Meeting, and put them on the hook for monthly fines from the City. We were going to sign a four-year lease extension, but that went off the tableRyan in the 2020 02 11 Meeting and the landlord has since been unwilling to provide more than a 1-year leaseTyler in the 2020 03 03 Meeting.

The sprinklers: If Noisebridge were to somehow stay in 2169, we'd need to upgrade the fire sprinkler systemRyan in the 2020 02 11 Meeting, which is estimated at more than $150k, and the landlord isn't interested in such upgrades. For us to stay, the building needs to be fully sprinklered on all floors, including the basementTyler in the 2020 03 03 Meeting. To fully make the building legal would be about a million dollarsRyan in the 2020 02 11 Meeting.

The “no hot work” restriction: Until 2169 is fully sprinklered, it can't be used for F1 “hot work”, which includes woodworking, soldering, certain sizes of sewing machines—almost everything we do at NBTyler in the 2020 03 03 Meeting.

The elevator: We also need our elevator fixed. It's “Uniquely Fucked”Naomi in the 2020 03 03 Meeting. Supposedly the landlord is “on it” but we're in the dark on statusTyler in the 2020 02 25 Meeting. 2169 is currently not an accessible space because of this; even besides the very real legal and moral problems with our space being inaccessible, we have at least one community member who has been unable to enter the space for over a year due to being a wheelchair-userZach in the 2020 05 19 Meeting.

The unpermitted construction: Also, the City wants us to remove “unpermitted construction” such as the SparkleForge and potentially the bathroomsTyler in the 2020 05 19 Meeting.

Back in March, we established a timeline of 60 days that would have ended in early MayTyler in the 2020 03 03 Meeting. That timeline got disrupted by the pandemic and the shelter-in-place order, which has given us breathing room, but it's a paused clock—none of the above facts have changed, so we still need to move.

What if we bought 2169? Like, the whole building?[edit]

This is the #nbremain counter-proposal: Create a new cryptocurrency, sell off that cryptocurrency for enough dollars to buy 2169 outright, and then remain at 2169.

Back in March, the estimated cost to buy the building outright was $10–12 millionTyler in the 2020 03 03 Meeting. It's possible that that cost has declined as the pandemic has wrecked the economy, including the property market, but that's speculation and we don't know for sure what the cost would be. To nail down a real price, we would need to make an offer to the landlord, which (a) the landlord doesn't like us (see above) and (b) we don't have anywhere near that kind of money.

Buying the building also just gets you a building. We'd still need to fix the elevator (another millionpyconaut in the 2020 05 19 Meeting). We'd still need to fully sprinkler the building so it can be used for “hot work”. And anything in the future that a landlord might be on the hook for, we'd be on the hook for. This includes expenses as well as ADA complaints/lawsuits, inspections, zoning complaints/other trouble with the City, etc.

Also, becoming the owner doesn't resolve problems with the City. Anything the City is currently mad at our landlord for (such as SparkleForge and the elevator), they would switch to being mad at us for.

It's not all downsides. Being the landlord would mean no landlord to deal with. We'd also become the landlord to our downstairs neighbor, who have a 50-year leasepyconaut in the 2020 05 19 Meeting, so that'd be a revenue stream of whatever they're currently paying in rent.

But as of right now (mid-May), this is a tall order. We would need to convince the landlord to sell, convince the landlord to sell to us, and have enough money to buy.

Where are we moving to?[edit]

Our current best shot is 272 Capp. It's literally just around the corner from 2169; you can actually see it from 2169's back windows.

272 is 6000 sq ft, with a ground-level garage and an upper levelTyler in the 2020 03 10 Meeting. It's zoned for Light IndustrialTyler in the 2020 04 07 Meeting; previously, it was an auto shopTyler in the 2020 04 14 Meeting.

We are looking at leasing 272 for ten yearsTyler in the 2020 03 10 Meeting. Noisebridge would have a secure home for the next decade, as long as we remain able to make the lease payments. Our initial offer was $8500/mo, their counter-offer was $10,500/moTyler in the 2020 03 10 Meeting; the amount we reached in the final, redlined lease is about $9k/mo.

The lease is viewable on Discuss.

Previous prospects[edit]

We were looking at 1077 Howard, but it's a sublet, so it's contingent on the current lessee being able to remain there—more tenuous than if we were the lessee directly.Noah in the 2020 03 10 Meeting

We also were looking at 668 Guerrero at one point.

More previous prospects are listed on the Noisebridge Space Program page and on the New Space Guild's meta thread.

What do we know about 272?[edit]

It's just around the corner from 2169. Window-to-window, it's eight feet awayTyler in the 2020 05 05 Meeting.

It's two floors with no elevatorDavid in the 2020 05 05 Meeting, so accessibility will be something to keep in mind at all times.

It was an auto shop beforeTyler in the 2020 05 05 Meeting.

It currently has no 240VAC outlets, so those will need to be added, and the layout of light switches is pretty terrible.Ryan in the 2020 05 05 Meeting

Plumbing looks good from a quick glance.Ryan in the 2020 05 05 Meeting

The rent is currently set to rise at 3%/yr, so it would rise from $9k/mo initially to $12k/mo at the end of the 10-year term.X in the 2020 05 05 Meeting

Our new lease includes a provision that allows us to break the lease if the City finds our use of the space is illegal.Ryan in the 2020 05 05 Meeting

David from Safer DIY conducted an inspection. They're an FTA-trained fire inspector. They gave their findings at a Noisebridge meetingDavid in the 2020 05 12 Meeting, and their full report is in the #inspection mega-thread on Discuss.

  • Electrical: Need something along the lines of a C-10 electrician. Smell test is electrical capacity is good. You're just going to have to run more distribution. A lot more.
  • Environmental: Need to confirm that the building has been properly refurbished to abate its previous usage as an auto repair shop. E.g., is it enough to simply paint the cement to block vapors from pollutants, or is something thicker/denser/better needed?
  • Two exits is great. (The roll-up door doesn't count as an exit.) Need to find out whether the rear exit corridor is fire-rated. We also have at least one operable skylight.
  • Sprinklered, but we need to look at the sprinkler panel for a big tag that says when it was lasted tested. Supposed to be tested every five years; if that isn't in evidence, the owner needs to take care of that.
  • Because there are two floors but no elevator, we have to think carefully about any activity that might happen upstairs and can't be accessed downstairs. Doesn't have to be 1:1, but it has to be possible to do things downstairs. We may want to consult a CASp (Certified Access Specialist).
  • Should get a floor-plan of each floor, to plan fire extinguisher placement and have evac maps.
  • It is currently technically an S1 Storage, not an F1 Light Manufacturing. Our moving in would be a Change in Occupancy. This may become relevant if we take out a building permit.
  • EXIT signs have dead batteries.
  • Ground-floor bathroom is not accessible, but there's room to make it so.
  • Generally really good from David's understanding of NB's intended usages.

What's the process for moving?[edit]

Executing the lease on the new space will be approved by a Consensus item.

On April 28, we passed a Consensus item that authorized a special meeting with 24 hours' notice to Consense upon executing a lease. This special meeting, if it happens, will be announced on #the-board, on a Noisebridge wiki page, and on the Noisebridge discuss mailing list.

A special meeting won't necessarily happen. As of May 25, there is a Consensus item pending to execute the 272 lease. That item may pass as early as May 26 at the regular Meeting.

In the meantime, preparations are already underway. Before lockdown, we were starting to box up Noisebridge's equipment so we could move it into the new space (this was when we were staring down a 60-day timeline). We can always use donations of money (to continue paying our current lease; to eventually begin paying the new lease; and to pay for moving costs) and time/labor (physically hauling stuff from one location to the other; cleaning both spaces; undoing Noisebridgification of the old space wherever warranted).

As soon as we sign the lease, pay the security deposit + 1 month's rent, and demonstrate that we have $1 million in insurance (which we have), we can begin moving.Tyler in the 2020 05 05 Meeting We start paying rent 30 days after the end of shelter-in-place.Tyler in the 2020 04 28 Meeting

We will need to be careful about how we move things to the new space. It will likely need to be done by a skeleton crew that otherwise self-isolates for the duration of their work moving goods from one location to the other, and has very few people (possibly only one person) in either space at a time, keeping distances and wearing masks.

We may need to invent novel methods of moving heavy items without one person on either side, each breathing the other's exhalations. Particularly given that neither space has a functioning elevator (2169's is broken, and 272 doesn't have one at all).