Open House Western Avenue

We’re opening our doors at Western Avenue to you

If you’ve walked by our Merrimack St. window in the last week, you might have noticed – we moved! Our “upstairs” shops have relocated to the second floor at Western Avenue. Our members worked hard to break down cubicles, brighten the walls, and pack our shops. Last Thursday, Electronics, 3D Printing, Brewing, Fabric & Mixed Media Crafts, Photography, our Scanning Electron Microscope, kitchen, classroom, and conference room all moved to the new space!

Now we’re ready to open our doors to you!

This Saturday, September 5th, from noon to 4pm, come to 150 Western Ave #3 and look for the small white building to the right of the garage bays. We’ll be ready to greet you and direct you on a tour through the new Lowell Makes.

Masks are required for all visitors; we will limit the number of people in the building at once and hallways will be one-way.

When is the rest of Lowell Makes Moving?

For now Cosplay, Bike Repair, Rapid Prototyping, Pottery, Metal, and Woodworking are staying put in the basement at Lee St. while we build out walls and electrical in the 11,000 square foot “warehouse” at Western Ave. We have selected a contractor and will be starting construction very soon. We hope to move the remaining shops over at the beginning of November.

This is where we need your support. 

Our GoFundMe is still $17,000 short of our goal, and we need to close that gap and fund our construction. 

Thank you to our member volunteer packers and the Sterling moving crew!

Western Avenue

Move out! August Building Updates from Lowell Makes

Hello there! We hope everyone has had a safe summer full of making.

First, we want to make sure everyone knows that we are OPEN! During COVID-19, we closed down our makerspace for several weeks (except for members working on our PPE efforts). As Massachusetts began offering reopening guidance, we gradually allowed members back into the building at limited capacity by using a sign-up system. As phases progressed, we increased capacity until reopening completely about a month ago. Our members have been very vigilant about social distancing in the space, wearing masks at all time, and cleaning all the tools they use. Thank you to all of our members for your compliance and for caring for one another.

We have not resumed open houses, but we are signing up new members on an individual basis. If your membership has lapsed or you have been thinking about joining, this is a great time to get involved! E-mail [email protected] to set up a one-on-one tour or reactivate your membership.

Second, we’ve been hard at work on a few fronts to move Lowell Makes to our new building. Tasks have included

  • Pulling cable for access control and high-speed WiFi – As we move our facility, we are also upgrading our member management and access control systems. The new tools will provide a better member experience and give us better insights and control over our systems. We worked with a local locksmith to hook up all the wiring to new strikes and doors.
  • Selecting a contractor – We are soliciting bids from three local contractors using plans drawn by our architect. We’ve spent a lot of time making sure that all our shops have what they need and building in modular design elements that will allow our layout to evolve over time.
  • Cleaning, painting, and emptying rooms – Our upstairs space was previously used as a business office. We inherited a lot of useful cubicle furniture that all had to be broken down and stored. Our members spent several weekends moving furniture and painting our classroom and hallways.
  • Getting rid of shelves in our downstairs area – The previous tenants also left us bunch of large metal shelves. We kept about 18 of these to use for storage and rental, and sold the rest (every dollar counts!). The downstairs is so much brighter with the shelves out, and now we have room to start construction.
  • Writing grants! Our build-out will be completed in phases, so we’re already looking ahead to things we want to add in phase two like a triple slop sink for our downstairs “dirty” shops, a more welcoming and accessible front entrance, and a new paint room. Please continue to support Lowell Makes through our GoFundMe.

August Asks:

  • Donations of packing and moving supplies (and member volunteers!)
  • Donations to keep our build-out funding on track – We are currently maintaining two buildings and funds are tight. Donate to our GoFundMe here:
  • In-kind donations – we would love to publicly thank your business on our Sponsors page. We will need things like outdoor signage, dumpster and cleaning services, and new classroom furniture. E-mail [email protected] if you’d like to partner with Lowell Makes!
  • Join Lowell Makes! Membership is our primary source of revenue and it dropped about 25% at the height of COVID-19. If you let your membership lapse, or you’ve been meaning to join, this is a great time!

What’s next?

  • Pack and move about half our shops to the upstairs at Western Avenue; shops included in the move will be most of our upstairs shops (kitchen/coffee, Fermentation, Photography, Electronics, 3D Printing) and Crafts/Fabric.
  • Select a contractor and begin build-out downstairs at Western Avenue

Enjoy these photos of the transformation happening at Western Avenue, thanks to our member volunteers!









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)