[TheThinkTank] Losing Our Space, Looking for Strategic Guidance & Advice

Jonathan Rosenbaum bike at bikelover.org
Sun Sep 25 23:50:02 PDT 2022

Hi Josh, 

I can relate to what Mechanical Gardens is going through.  We had to
relocate Positive Spin twice over a three year period. The first time we
had plenty of time to find a new location, but we had to downsize from a
significantly larger space, which involved making many changes to our
operating model, and it was not even clear if we would remain viable
because of the higher rental cost, but we did!  The second time, we had
about 1 month to leave, and it was in the middle of the Winter.  We
explained exactly what we could afford, along with our space
requirements, to the public and all the potential landlords.  Again, we
succeeded!  It did involve getting the word out, a detailed search, and
it helped that we had an established track record.  That being said,
successful bike collectives do need to become experts at positive
adaptation and transformation.  For instance, we have become experts at
maximizing our space, but it meant thinking outside the traditional way
we had been doing things.  

Gordon provides an excellent outline of actions.  In that spirit, I ran
Mechanical Gardens situation by my niece who currently resides in NYC,
and she suggested giving Pioneer Works -
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_Works - a visit, which is about a
5 minute walk from Mechanical Gardens.  If you move fast, you may even
secure a residency - https://pioneerworks.org/residency/ (deadline
September 30). It would be worth the try to give the founder, Dustin
Yellin [5], that 30 second elevator pitch. At the least, this
organization may be able to provide leads.   


On 2022-09-23 15:46, Josh Bisker via Thethinktank wrote:

> Hey pals, the Mechanical Gardens in NYC is losing our home base and needs to find a new home. I'm wondering if people have advice on any of these topics: 
> * Leveraging a crisis like this into successful fundraising campaigns 
> * Propositioning other organizations to partner with you and donate space that can house you at a site they control -- for example, government agencies, real estate developers, community development corporations, nonprofits, or for-profits.
> * Some other strategy i'm not seeing here...?
> I'm eager to hear what's worked for you, as well as any lessons about what hasn't. I'm keen to hear specific pieces of advice about how to construct this pitch or frame the ask, who to engage with, and things like that, and I'd be grateful if you could share specific resources -- a pitch deck, a proposal document, anything along those lines. NYC is an extraordinarily hard place for, you know, essentially everything, and real estate is the hardest thing of all, so things that may have worked in other places simply might not work here ... but I'm taking all the advice I can get.   
> xox 
> Josh 
> Josh Bisker | 914-500-9890 | Executive Director, Mechanical Gardens Bike Co-op [1] 
> 2022 Donation Drive is ON! Support Bike Equity in NYC Today! [2] 
> Funkrust Brass Band [3] | Kessel Run Radio Show on Maker Park Radio [4] 
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[1] http://bikecoop.nyc/
[2] http://bikecoop.nyc/donate
[3] http://funkrust.com/
[4] https://makerparkradio.nyc/shows/the-kessel-run-w-joshjoshjosh/
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