Western Avenue

Welcome to our building blog!

On Thursday, May 14 2020, we successfully completed the purchase of 150 Western Ave #3 in Lowell!

Our local paper, The Lowell Sun, covered the story with the headline “Lowell Makes Dreams Come True,” which is an accurate way to describe how we were feeling. Our President Samantha Burdett and co-Founder John Noto were present for a socially-distanced signing and hand-off of the keys.

The acquisition was the result of combined community efforts. Financing was made possible through a tax-exempt bond issued by Mass Development and through a loan from the Lowell Development and Financial Corporation. Enterprise Bank handled the mortgage and coordination of the finances. Lowell Makes was represented in the transaction by Lowell-based Gallagher and Cavanaugh LLP, who generously donated a portion of their legal services.

Lowell Makes raised over $100,000 in cash donations, including a $50,000 donation from the previous owner of 150 #3 Western Avenue, Jim Mertes. Billerica-based RIKON Power Tools also donated $10,000 to the acquisition and will outfit a new 3,000 square foot shop with state-of-the-art woodworking equipment. A full list of donors to the project can be found here.

(SUN/Julia Malakie)

Later in the day on May 14, we received more great news: Lowell Makes has been awarded a Capital grant in the amount of $76,000 from MassDevelopment and the Mass Cultural Council, the administrators of the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund. They have also approved us for a Systems Replacement Plan grant in the amount of $7,000. These funds will be a HUGE help as we build out our new makerspace at Western Avenue and maintenance our beautiful old mill building.

So what’s next?

We’re ready to get to work! Local architect Jay Mason of ACS Lowell is working with Lowell Makes to design the interior build-out. As soon as design plans are finalized, we’ll be working with a general contractor to start construction. Some of the biggest changes will include:

  • Re-working the main entrance of our space to be more welcoming and accessible.
  • Installing floor-to-ceiling walls, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical in the large first floor; the 11,000 square foot space will house our “dirty” shops – metal, woodworking, cosplay, ceramics, bike repair, and rapid prototyping.
  • Setting up the upstairs rooms (which are more recently renovated) to accommodate our cleaner shops like crafts, 3D printing, brewing/fermentation, and electronics.

We expect to move all operations to the building in fall 2020. We’ll have a grand opening party and you’re all invited! Click here to join our mailing list and receive future blog updates.

We are continuing to fund raise for build-out expenses. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation.


(SUN/Julia Malakie)
(SUN/Julia Malakie)