Restaurateurs Bring Hackforge Tech Space To Downtown Windsor

Monday May 25th, 2015

Posted at 1:56pm

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Scott D’Amore, co-owner of Chanoso’s, South Detroit and Venue Music Hall, talks about why this partnership is so exciting for his three organizations.

The question mark came crashing down this morning, welcoming the newest and most unique partner to the 255 Ouellette crew, Hackforge.

After just celebrating their third birthday, Hackforge, previously a part of the Windsor Public Library, has taken over the former Oishii restaurant. The most unique component of this partnership is the arrangement put together by property owner Mark Boscariol, who also owns The Willistead in Walkerville and Snack Bar-B-Q downtown, and co-owner of Chanoso’s, South Detroit and Venue Music Hall, Scott D’Amore.

“I volunteered for Hackforge last year and all of a sudden I got on their new location search committee and in the middle of being on that committee, my lease negotiations with Chanoso’s came up and all of a sudden the space became available, I had no idea that that was going to happen,” said Boscariol. “We were talking about different lease negotiations and I explained what was going on at Hackforge.”

It was through that brainstorming where the idea to duo-purpose the space was born. D’Amore has donated the 1,200 square foot main floor space for Hackforge to work out of – rent free – as well as allowing Hackforge to utilize the upstairs 6,000 square feet of space which is only being utilized by Venue Music Hall on Thursdays through Sundays after 9 p.m. The space has now become a nightclub by night and a camp/exhibition/event space for Hackforge by day. Boscariol estimated the cost to be approximately $60,000 per year if Hackforge where to rent this space on the market.

“Sometimes there’s pure generosity and there’s a generosity that has partial ulterior motive and part of our ulterior motive is bringing in a great group like this that I honestly think is going to be good for the downtown core,” said D’Amore. “The space that they’re going to be occupying is a space that we use … but we can put those events in other places … Bringing Hackforge down here, they have the opportunity to do something that’s not being serviced in the community and it gives them a wonderful storefront to work out of right in the core of downtown and it gives us an amazing opportunity to work together.”

Through their Ontario Trillium funding and membership fees, Hackforge will be able to pay their own utilities for the space. Going one more step further, Boscariol is also donating all the renovations to transform the space into exactly what Hackforge needs.

“Hackforge is a technology nonprofit,” explained Sarah Morris, program coordinator for Hackforge. “We’re focused in capacity building within the IT community and the IT sector, we also advocate for technology in the community and work to dismantle barriers towards technology. You don’t need to have a ton of money and a University degree to interact with 3D Printing, if you come to Hackforge, you can learn about that here.”

During the month of June, while they are getting settled into their new space Hackforge is inviting the public to come and see what they’re all about. On June 6th from 11am to 3pm they will have an equipment swap where Hackforge is inviting the public to come down and donate any working equipment to their organization. On June 11th from 6pm to 8pm, Hackforge will be having a DIY Security system Talk and Workshop where, as they are setting up their security system, they are inviting the public to come learn how to set up their own.

“It’s really exciting for the downtown and it’s exciting for us to be a part of it,” said D’Amore. “I really have to tip my hat to Mark, he’s certainly somebody who thinks outside the box and he’s certainly a great advocate for Windsor and I don’t think a lot of people would have championed this relationship like Mark did…We’re super excited for this unique partnership, I think it’s a great thing for Windsor I think it can help drive traffic, create jobs and help be a part of our downtown revitalization.”

255 Ouellette Ave. property owner Mark Boscariol speaks to the crowd about why he chose to bring Hackforge back to Windsor’s downtown core.

 

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