It’s September – 13 months after the kick-off meeting where the University said their lawyers might take up to two months to prepare a lease – and I am optimistic that we’ll sign on Thursday!

It’s not quite guaranteed yet, and I will only believe it when I see the University seal on the paperwork, but it’s looking good. We have confirmed that we are happy with the latest version of the lease text, and there’s only a couple of outstanding quibbles. Firstly, some lovely cupboards which are shown as outside our demise on the plan; these are tricky because some of them contain University piping. I hope to secure access to these but if it’s a pain and would delay things, we’ll do without access. Also, although I’ve got estimates of almost all the various costs now, I’ve no figure for shared costs of cleaning the shared toilet block. I’d quite like to see that before we proceed, but again, if we can’t get an estimate before Thursday I’ll probably agree to proceed without, and we’ll just have to trust the University not to fleece us on cleaning bills.

The licence to alter might be ready this week, but that looks tighter. I’ve had final walk-throughs with fire safety and access control contractors, so hope to get final quotes with all the relevant part numbers and so forth that it now turns out we need before Thursday, but if they don’t reach me in time, we’ll go ahead with the lease on the 6th and do the licence in a subsequent week.

The lease has really taken a long time, and so I’ve asked our lawyers to push for a longer initial lease term if possible, ideally 3 years, to reflect the delays so far. I’ve no idea if we’ll get this but we might as well ask; otherwise, I’ll be starting negotiations for the renewal on Friday!

Visiting the space last week to work out final locations for fire detection, we were astonished to find the floors covered in damp papers. The basement of the building has been flooded in the recent torrential rains and sadly many filing cabinets were inundated. The workshop space is being used as a drying room for all kinds of miscellaneous university paperwork, old contracts and so on. They will be moved out – hopefully dry – before we move in 🙂 It was good to note that although our space is lower ground floor, it didn’t suffer in the rain and indeed I have no evidence that the space has flooded in recent years.

We’re also planning to set up an Advisory Group to help ensure the relationship between our soon-to-be landlord, our wonderful supporters at the IfM, and Makespace runs smoothly. More news on this soon.

In other news, we’ve filed our first annual accounts, up to December 2011. I can report that we made a small operating loss in that period.

We’ve had a lot of people asking if there will be a party on the 6th. Well, assuming that the lease does actually get signed, I think it’s fair to say there will be some kind of celebration in the evening, so you might want to keep your diaries clear! I’m afraid there certainly won’t be wild and crazy making stuff happening in the space straight away – we won’t have had our insurance inspection or fire detectors fitted – but rest assured that we’ll be getting ready for that sort of thing as fast as we can. Keep an eye on our Twitter feed for the latest updates.

Finally, if you’re wondering what happens next, we’re going to be bringing together the Founder Members very soon to plan the next few months in more detail, and there will be ways for everyone to get involved. We’ll keep you posted.

Fingers crossed that it’s lease week!

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