In june 2015 we bought a new factory, Seilduksgata 29 in Grünnerløkka. While we renovate this new building we’ll be continuing to run our facilities at Urtegata 11.
Right back in the beginning before Fellesverkstedet even existed we established two criteria for successful development:
-1. A location that was affordable and allowed for long-term investment
-2. A living wage for the organizations employees.
We’re pretty excited; by buying Seilduksgata 29 we’re at least 50% of the way there!
For 3 years we’ve been trying to find a responsible investment package for our current pilot location, Urtegata 11. We love the building and the area but in March 2014 our final plan was turned down and we were left in a rather unstable and potentially catastrophic situation. With no new leads on the table and limited manpower we made the decision in August 2014 to close down the facilities and concentrate all of our energies on finding a new location. It was a simple choice, no location = no Fellesverkstedet.
In October 2014 we found Seilduksgata 29, or more to the point, we rediscovered it (we’d considered the space for the pilot project). The owners Seilduksgaten 25/31 AS/ Naturbetong were open for a sale and so the negotiations began! By the end of the year we’d arrived at the first version of the contract and with help from Kulturrådet and Oslo Kommune we'd secured 90% of the sale price and initial renovation costs. In 2015 the negotiations continued, point for point, month by month, until on the 30th of June we signed the deal!
Seilduksgata 29 or “Støperiet” was originally built by De forende Norske Laase- og Beslagfabrikker in 1915. They would later become Scandinavia’s largest producers of lock systems, Trio Ving. The building has stood the test of time but needs renovating, and that’s our next plan.
We’re now in the final planning stages and hope to begin the renovation process this autumn. It’s a complicated process and is going to take some time. Right now we can’t say exactly when we’ll be finished but we’ll be coming back to you all with the details when they’re established.
Beyond our own direct needs, we mean that the purchase of our own building represents an important reference for cultural activity in Norway, and more particularly Oslo. By buying and owning we not only take responsibility for securing our own future; we place our feet firmly on the ground and create a foothold in the center of one of the worlds most expensive property markets. By making this step we take an active role in urban planning and make decisions that create the city that we want. From now on, what we invest, we invest directly in ourselves and our community!
So what now? Well we’re going to have to put a lot of our energies into Seilduksgata, but while this is going on we’ll be running Fellesverkstedet from Urtegata 11. We’ve purchased some fantastic new machines and re-jigged the facilities. We’ve also a new business model that’s been tested throughout the spring and summer that allows for a far wider variety of projects and helps secure more stable working conditions for both Fellesverkstedet and our users.
See you all soon! The future is bright!