Gravity developer Kaufman buying Idea Foundry building, will partner with incubator space – The Columbus Dispatch

The Gravity development in Franklinton is adding the Idea Foundry to its eye-catching mix of apartments, offices, retail and restaurants.
Gravity’s builder, Kaufman Development, is buying the 65,000-square-foot Idea Foundry at 421 W. State St., which Kaufman calls “the world’s largest makerspace.” The building, which reopened last summer after being closed early in the pandemic, will become part of the adjacent Gravity development.
“The Idea Foundry has long been a vibrant and inclusive maker space for creators, innovators and futurists, and we’re excited to officially incorporate their energy and passion into the Gravity community,” Kaufman Development founder Brett Kaufman said in a news release announcing the purchase.
The Idea Foundry will continue to be managed by Alex Bandar, who founded the creative center in 2008. Kaufman Development is buying the building from the former Columbus marketing executive Nancy Kramer and entrepreneur Christopher Celeste, who have owned it since 2015. The purchase price was not disclosed.
“Kramer and Christopher took a scrappy, grassroots community of makers, put us in a rocket ship and launched us. Now, Brett is refueling us to take us even higher,” Bandar said in the news release.
“This takes us from being a space for creatives to being a district for creatives, with opportunities that will be unique to any makerspace in the world.”
The Idea Foundry, a former factory, offers manufacturing facilities, offices, event space and workshops to its 500-plus members and to others. Its largest tenant is the Columbus Fashion Alliance clothing incubator. 
The exact nature of the partnership hasn’t been determined, but several ideas are being explored including: renovating the rooftop or basement of the Idea Foundry; providing pop-up retail spaces at Gravity for Idea Foundry producers; creating an “artist-in-residence” program for an Idea Foundry tenant or a “designer-in-residence” for a member of the Columbus Fashion Alliance.
Gravity’s residential, office and retail tenants also will have access to the Idea Foundry, according to the news release.
“We want to continue to nurture it as a haven for creativity and further develop its underutilized space so that even more people can develop and hone their ideas, projects and businesses,” Kaufman said. 
In 2017, Kaufman launched the first phase of Gravity – a six-story mix of apartments, offices and retail – on the north side of West Broad Street in Franklinton. Three years later, work began on Gravity’s second, much larger, phase, on the south side of West Broad Street.
That phase, well under construction, is scheduled to include multiple buildings including offices, apartments, restaurants and a spa
jweiker@dispatch.com
@JimWeiker

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