NextFab, a collection of makerspaces that offer education, equipment and community for technologists and creatives in Philly and Wilmington, has begun to slowly reopen its facilities and unveil its newest hub — a 30,000-square-foot facility in North Philadelphia.
The new space, at 1800 N. American St. north of Olde Kensington, replaces NextFab’s previous North Philly location at Fourth and Thompson streets. Sales Manager Anna Solomon told Technical.ly that the previous location closed around Thanksgiving, and that the org was rearing to open the new space right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Philly area.
Stopped by @NextFab_PHL’s new North Philly location yesterday. It’s about four times bigger than their previous Fishtown site, and the team is working on slowly but safely bringing in members. pic.twitter.com/gB1tXK4uWT
— Paige Gross ✨ (@By_paigegross) July 7, 2020
The neighborhood is growing in popularity for artists and makers, she said, so NextFab decided to double down on the area and greatly expand its space. Now, housed at the giant warehouse on North American Street, there’s space for woodworking, jewelry making, electronics and laser work along with classroom and coworking space.
The space also has two conference rooms for members to host business meetings or give presentations.
There’s also room for businesses to sublease from NextFab, and the Neon Museum (formerly on Drexel University’s campus), Beaty American, Destined Goods, Resource Exchange and Keystone Bicycle Co. currently occupy space.
Also new are eight-by-eight-foot studios available to lease for artists or makers who want a designated room to work or store materials. Although new membership apps for the new location are on pause as social distancing guidelines remain, applications for the studio spaces only are currently open, as they allow for isolated working, Solomon said. They currently run for $450 a month.
Some construction at the facility is still ongoing, as it hopes to add a restaurant at its entry as well as the ability to host indoor and outdoor events. There are also plans to launch an accelerator, like its South Philly location; more info will be coming soon. (Applications are open for NextFab’s existing RAPID Hardware Accelerator through Aug. 21.)
Although it’s been somewhat tricky to bring members back into the facility amid social distancing guidelines, Solomon said NextFab has been safety focused since its origin.
“We’ve been open for 10 years and had people touch and be trained in dangerous equipment for that long, and we’ve been keeping our members safe,” she said. “It’s different procedures but similar mindset.”
NextFab’s North American Street location is now open to members, and has a waitlist for new members.