Idea Foundry to Begin Work on Phase 2 of Franklinton Maker Space

Walker Evans Walker Evans Idea Foundry to Begin Work on Phase 2 of Franklinton Maker SpacePhoto by Walker Evans.
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When the Columbus Idea Foundry first opened its doors in Franklinton last year, they were actually only halfway done with work on the 60,000 square foot building at 421 West State Street. Today, the leadership behind the makerspace organization is announcing that the second half of buildout is about to begin.

“When we moved to Franklinton we were grateful to get grants from the Columbus Foundation and Artplace America, and we kind of made a hail mary that we would be able to fundraise and build out the second floor,” explained Columbus Idea Foundry CEO Alex Bandar. “The business model has always relied on having a business incubator on the second floor, so we’re grateful that we’ve been able to land new silent minority investors who are making that need for fundraising go away.”

The investor team is none other than Nancy Kramer, Founder and Chairman of Resource Ammirati, and her husband Christopher Celeste, Founder and Managing Partner at Hatch Partners. The duo have a long history with philanthropic investment, and with the local entrepreneurial community.

“Nancy and Christopher wanted to buy into Franklinton because they get it,” said Jim Sweeney, Executive Director of the Franklinton Development Association, which owns the Idea Foundry building. “We’re super excited to have them involved in Franklinton because they share our vision for a creative community and a progressive take on community revitalization.”

In addition to business incubation space, the second floor of the Idea Foundry will include less fabrication equipment and more business development support.

“We have the workstations for building widgets on the first floor, and the second floor is where you’ll build your business,” said Bandar. “That means everything from graphic artists to trademark attorneys. We’ll have event space, co-working space, possibly a demonstration kitchen, and even a rooftop deck that can host 100 people in a social place, because there’s a very strong social component to the entrepreneurial community here.”

Bandar said that construction of the space is expected to start within the next month or two, utilizing the same team as the first floor; TRIAD Architects for design and Compton Construction for the build out. They’re aiming for a mid-2016 grand opening.

While the news is certainly positive for Franklinton as it will draw new businesses and visitors to the area, Sweeney said that the impact of the news goes even further due to the Development Association’s ownership of the building and the lease-to-own arrangement they’ve set up with the Foundry.

“This will continue to be a source of unrestricted revenue for the FDA for the next 20 years, which will allow us to pay for more staff, buy more real estate and do more projects,” he explained. “We’re eager to do another Idea Foundry-like project if we’re given the opportunity, but this will certainly allow us to do more affordable housing, which is what we’re really good at.”

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