Late last year, Astoria Maker Industries purchased the Van Dusen Building from The Harbor, a regional advocacy group for victims of sexual and domestic violence.
The group held a first event in the building, a concert, over the weekend in a corner suite where local crafters will eventually sell what they create in the nascent makerspace.
Astoria Makers founder Glen Herman owns the building with business partner Stephan Eiter, a former programmer, makerspace member and student in Clatsop Community College’s historic preservation program. Astoria Makers occupies most of the building, except for Frank’s Barber Shop.
The group started in a warehouse in Miles Crossing, but a poll found more support for a downtown location, Eiter said. They looked at multiple locations downtown before connecting with The Harbor, which needed the extra capital from the building’s sale.
Astoria Makers’ first mark on the Van Dusen Building was replacing the faded pinkish exterior with a deep shade of blue with white trim.
“It let people know we’re here, we’re doing something,” said Lucy Barna, a local artist.
Behind covered windows along Duane and 10th streets, the group has been building out the corner retail space and a small manufacturing space. Upstairs, the group is building artist studios, for which Barna said the group already has a wait list.
The operation of Astoria Makers will include customized manufacturing projects, retail sales, membership and education. Herman envisions the makerspace turning out items like furniture, customized to certain dimensions, that clients can see being made at the makerspace.
“They call it distributed manufacturing,” Herman said of the concept.
There’s no timeline for the makerspace’s opening as Astoria Makers continues to paint, install utilities and build a second stairwell. The group will eventually install full windows in the corner retail space and a large garage door on Duane Street for their future projects.
“Having events like this are good for giving us a deadline,” Herman said.