NextFab, the for-profit cool-tools "makerspace" studio network started by Evan Malone, Ph.D. in West Philadelphia in 2009, plans to temporarily close its three-year-old, 4,000 square foot jewelry and textile studios at 1227 N. Fourth St. later this year in preparation for a move to much larger quarters in a 21,000-square-foot space at 1800 N. American St. in late 2019.
The shutdown should last "one to three months," while the firm moves machinery, Malone said. Members who need space between the shutdown and the planned new opening can move to NextFab's 21,000 sq. ft. Washington Ave. tech-tools location in South Philly or its 10,000 sq. ft. Wilmington location, or collect refunds, according to NextFab.
The new facility, like the 4th St. location, will be headed by jewelery-industry veteran Melissa Guglielmo.
Philadelphia has been trying to redevelop the blocks along wide American St. in the former west Kensington factory and food-industries corridor since the 1980s. Instead of the job-intensive production facilities the city once envisioned, the neighborhood, which adjoins the Northern Liberties residential and restaurant district, has attracted artists and artisan shops in recent years.
In a statement, Malone noted the new site's neighbors including Crane Arts, the Provenance Cos. architectual-salvage business, Clay Studio, Colorspace Labs and Paperbox Studios, among others.
"I love NextFab. I'm going to join today," said Bob Beaty, a veteran Philadelphia construction recycler who runs another architectual-salvage business on N. American St., on hearing the company will soon be a nearer neighbor.