TechShop Detroit Facility (Finally) Will Debut In October

It took longer than expected but TechShop will finally open…uh, shop in Detroit this fall.

The Menlo Park, CA-based company, a self-described “membership-based, do-it-yourself workshop and fabrication studio” will open a 12,000 square foot facility at Ford Motor facility in 800 Republic, Allen Park, MI in October, TechShop CEO Mark Hatch tells Xconomy in an exclusive interview.

TechShop will sign the lease with Ford next week. Hatch expects construction on the $2 million facility will be completed in 12 weeks.

Founded in 2006, TechShop provides inventors and entrepreneurs with equipment, software, and training to innovate and create stuff. The company currently operates studios in San Francisco and Raleigh, NC and plans to enter New York and San Jose, CA. Membership fees from $75 a month to $1,200 a year.

Ford and TechShop first hatched the idea to open up a communal work center at the 2010 Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA. Ford was showing off its “American Journey 2.0” project with University of Michigan students. As part of that program, Ford, Microsoft, and Intel gave students an opportunity to develop their ideas for future in-car connectivity using social networks, GPS, and real-time vehicle data.

But opening a Detroit-area facility proved more tricky than Hatch thought, mostly because TechShop couldn’t find local money.

“Yeah, it took a while,” Hatch says. “We were looking to the local community for help. It didn’t happen as quickly as we thought.”

In the end, Ford boosted its investment and TechShop tapped some of the $3.5 million it raised from its Series A investors and Autodesk to seal the deal.

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