After reviewing presentations from hacker conferences and Make Magazine about setting up a Hacker Space, 4-5 of us are setting out to establish one in Portland, preferably in the Old Port part of the city near the waterfront, arts district, great coffee shops and restaurants. The down-side to that location is the cost. We could get some warehouse space with no plumbing and little heat in an abandoned factory in Biddeford or Westbrook, but if we can manage the Old Port's steeper rent, I think we'll get more people interested and have more of the public wandering in. The offer to “...meet us at Hacker Space in an abandoned warehouse near the trash incinerator in Biddeford,” doesn't quite have the same attraction as, “...meet us on Exchange Street, 3 doors down from JavaNet Coffee and 4 doors down from the Fuji Japanese Restaurant with great sushi.”
The space I saw yesterday would be perfect being that it's in the Old Port near the Javanet coffee shop and the Fuji Japanese restaurant. The entrance had an attractive lobby and an elevator and the office had a huge common area with a skylight and big kitchenette surrounded by 4 offices, 3 of which look out on Exchange street. A patent attorney and I both want separate offices for our companies and Hacker Space wants a locking office for their expensive and/or difficult to operate machinery. That would leave one office to be sublet. If the owner of the building is okay with 3 on the lease and will take what we can afford, it would be a perfect location for Hacker Space, my company, and my friend's patent law firm.
We're having a Hacker Space info. meeting in conjunction with the 2600.com meeting at the Maine Mall this Friday evening, so we'll see if we have enough people interested in founding the project.