Epicenter@Innovate ABQ is shown here at its opening. (Marla Brose/Journal)
The FUSE Makerspace, which opened in April 2016 at a 3,000-square-foot space on CNM’s main campus, will move into an existing 13,500-square-foot facility at the seven acre First Baptist Church property, which the University of New Mexico acquired in 2014 for Innovate ABQ.
The city remodeled that old building, which previously housed a Noon Day Ministries shelter, into a new Epicenter in 2015 for community entrepreneurial events. But the Epicenter moved out last year, after developers broke ground on the first Innovate ABQ building, the six-story Lobo Rainforest building on the northeast corner of the site.
That building will open in August and house entrepreneurship programs for students and businesses to build startups and take new technology from UNM and other research universities and labs to market.
Locating CNM’s makerspace at the old Noon Day shelter will provide a lot more resources for businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into marketable products and services at Innovate ABQ, said Mayor Richard Berry.
“This addition to our innovation district builds on the transformation Downtown as a place for ideas to take shape and businesses to be born and grow,” Berry said in a statement. “With FUSE’s relocation right across the parking lot from UNM’s Lobo Rainforest building, the opportunities for collaboration among creative and technical minds will be increased exponentially.”
CNM had always planned to house its makerspace Downtown as part of Innovation Central, which aims to turn the city’s core into a bustling hub for innovation and high-tech research and development.
“Moving the FUSE Makerspace to the Innovate ABQ site is great news for the growing entrepreneurial movement in Albuquerque,” said CNM President Kathie Winograd. “The FUSE Makerspace fits in perfectly with the Innovate ABQ vision to create a central location where creativity, entrepreneurship and education combine to support an economic resurgence in central New Mexico.”
The move to the Noon Day shelter and forthcoming renovations are financed in part by a $500,000 grant that Emera Inc., the Canadian firm that acquired the New Mexico Gas Co. last summer, awarded to the city to support its Innovation Central initiative. The McCune Charitable Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation have also kicked in funds.
The makerspace provides students, entrepreneurs, hobbyists and small businesses access to high-tech machinery and computer software to design and prototype new products, create artistic works or pursue hobbies while working in a collaborative environment. It includes equipment for wood, metal and machine shops, plus electronics fabrication, laser and vinyl cutting, 3D printing, and screen printing.