TechShop Pittsburgh will stay open an extra 60 days — until Nov. 30, TechShop corporate announced Friday.
This is the second extension for the Larimer maker space to stay open since its closing was first announced in May. The space was originally slated to close Sept. 1, but members got an extension to the end of the month. Now, they have two more months.
The added time gives newly created Protohaven, a nonprofit formed to replace the shop, more time to fundraise and plan for a smooth transition from one organization to the other and to a new space, said Devin Montgomery, a founder of Protohaven.
“There’s been a lot of anxiety about the shop closing,” Montgomery said, given the strong sense of community and businesses based at the shop. He added that there’s been “overwhelming support” for a version of the shop staying open.
Dan Woods, CEO of TechShop, emailed members Thursday (The Incline obtained a copy of the message), saying that the company and Walnut Capital, which owns the shop’s Bakery Square location, were able to come to an agreement to extend the lease. The plan is to transfer the TechShop Pittsburgh license to Protohaven at the end of November, he wrote.
“This lease extension will buy some much needed time to finalize planning and arrange funding to continue operation of TechShop Pittsburgh as a licensee,” Woods wrote.
Per a news release, Protohaven as a licensee of TechShop means that Protohaven will honor TechShop memberships.
Woods wrote in his Thursday email that Protohaven as well as TechShop staff and members “have been working incredibly hard to make plans for this next iteration of Pittsburgh’s largest open-access maker community. We want to support these efforts in every way possible.”
Since the closing was announced, members have met weekly trying to find a way to keep the space open. Last month, Gadsden Merrill, TechShop Pittsburgh general manager, and Montgomery, a TechShop member, filed the state paperwork to create Protohaven and plans were to relocate at the end of the month due to rent costs.
Protohaven will still relocate, but now there is added time to find a space and more options for when it comes to moving, such as moving in phases, Montgomery said.
“We’re looking at a few locations,” Montgomery added. (One possible location is 7800 Susquehanna St. in Homewood.)
TechShop’s closing was part of a business model switch for the corporation as a whole. The company previously relied on memberships and educational programs as main sources of revenue and shifted to a “new partner licensing model.” As part of that, the Pittsburgh shop was slated to close because it wasn’t meeting operating expenses.