The space that Ideaspace was all set to occupy
The space that Ideaspace was all set to occupy

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The Boilermaker Shops by the Navy Yard won’t be filled with robots after all. Ideaspace, the “maker” playground set to take over a substantial portion of the development that includes the Bluejacket brewery and Nando’s Peri-Peri, has decided to change venues in order to find a bigger space.

Ideaspace aims to serve robotics, electronics, and other entrepreneurs who need space to build projects, hold meetings, and share ideas. For a $99-a-month membership fee, participants will have access to equipment, meeting rooms, event space, and a lounge, as well as classes at an additional cost. Ideaspace’s three co-founders selected the Boilermaker space, on Tingey Street SE in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood, and signed leases for the second floor and part of the first, totaling around 16,000 square feet. According to co-founder Yoshi Maisami, they’d already sunk between $150,000 and $200,000 into architecture, planning, and design work for the space, although they hadn’t yet begun to build it out.

But Maisami says he and his partners were quickly flooded with requests for workspace, well beyond the approximately nine “project garages” the Boilermaker site could accommodate. So sunk cost and all, they decided to look elsewhere. Maisami declines to disclose specific locations, but says they’re exploring several potential sites, offering between 30,000 and 45,000 square feet, on the Green Line in the District.

“The demand was wildly impressive,” he says. “What’s become clear to us is our original location isn’t big enough.”

That’s good news for Ideaspace, provided it locks down a new site quickly. It’s less good for Capitol Riverfront and for building owner Forest City, which now face the prospect of a large vacancy they thought they had filled. (A spokesman for Forest City didn’t respond to a request for comment.)

But for Ideaspace members, says Maisami, the change in plans will mean a unified community in a larger space. “We don’t want to split the members up and have half of them in one space and half of them in another space,” he says. After all, robots like company.

Photo courtesy of Ideaspace