Nonprofit maker space TheLab.ms to become first new tenant in Richardson Innovation Quarter

Best described as a “gym for tinkerers and makers,” the nonprofit organization not only provides a physical location for collaboration among people interested in subjects such as robotics, coding and 3D printing—it also hosts meetups and events for its members. (Courtesy TheLab.ms)
Best described as a “gym for tinkerers and makers,” the nonprofit organization not only provides a physical location for collaboration among people interested in subjects such as robotics, coding and 3D printing—it also hosts meetups and events for its members. (Courtesy TheLab.ms)

Best described as a “gym for tinkerers and makers,” the nonprofit organization not only provides a physical location for collaboration among people interested in subjects such as robotics, coding and 3D printing—it also hosts meetups and events for its members. (Courtesy TheLab.ms)

Richardson’s recently anointed Innovation Quarter is about to welcome its first new tenant.

TheLab.ms plans to host a grand opening for its 3,000-square foot maker space at 999 E. Arapaho Road, Richardson, on Dec. 1. Best described as a “gym for tinkerers and makers,” the nonprofit organization not only provides a physical location for collaboration among people interested in subjects such as robotics, coding and 3D printing—it also hosts meetups and events for its members.

“What the lab offers is a place for people to make connections with other people ... who may share similar interests in making, creating and innovating,” TheLab.ms President Olivia Snyder said.

Snyder said she joined the lab to learn more about 3D printing. At the maker space, she was able to connect with members who were knowledgeable about the technology. Members of the maker space have 24/7 access to cost-prohibitive technology that is not found in the average person’s home.

“The whole concept was kind of intimidating to me,” she said. “At the maker space, I was able to meet people that were happy to teach me how to use [the technology].”


The volunteer-run nonprofit organization is membership-based and funded through donations. Currently housed in Plano, the group was about to run out its lease and was looking for a larger space. At just the right moment, TheLab.ms was invited to join Richardson’s Innovation Quarter, or IQ.

“We had heard about the vision for the Richardson IQ, and [we were drawn by] the idea that we would be plunked right down in the middle of who we want to connect with,” Snyder said. “The community Richardson has to offer and the structure of the IQ definitely tipped the scales for us.”

The IQ is a 1,200-acre industrial area east of Central Expressway that, for the past several years, has been the subject of an in-depth, city-led revitalization effort. The vision for the area is that it will become the "premier tech hub in Texas," according to a 2018 vision statement. In late December, Richardson City Council opened the door for mixed-use redevelopment projects by approving sweeping changes to the area’s land use regulations.

TheLab.ms was targeted as a tenant for The IQ because it lends itself perfectly to the goal of creating a collaborative ecosystem among businesses and organizations, said Doug McDonald, the city of Richardson’s planning projects manager.

“You can put all the pieces in place in terms of physical aspects, but how do you build that collaboration piece that’s not here today? ... The maker space is a key part of that,” he said.

The IQ is already home to some of Richardson’s largest tech companies, including Raytheon, Lintec and Verizon. Working in close proximity to these corporations, as well as being able to connect with other businesses and organizations through resources like the Richardson Chamber of Commerce, was a huge draw for the lab, TheLab.ms Vice President Tommy Falgout said.

“One of our biggest struggles has been awareness,” Falgout said. “So to have that brand awareness in the community, and also through the corporations, would be huge for us.”

TheLab.ms is currently accepting new members and is offering discounted memberships to students, first responders, retirees and members of the military. More information about the organization is available here.

“We are truly a community that thrives on ideas and trying different things,” Falgout said. “It’s much greater than the sum of its parts.”
By Olivia Lueckemeyer
Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.


MOST RECENT

Honest Frisco opened in November at 1640 FM 423, Ste. 200. (Matt Payne/Community Impact Newspaper)
Indian vegetarian restaurant Honest Frisco opens near India Bazaar; Lewisville ISD board names an interim superintendent and more top DFW news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Consuelo Mendez Middle School has consistently received poor ratings from the Texas Education Agency. (Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: State could take over AISD school board if poorly-rated campus does not improve; new furniture store to open in McKinney and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Dec. 3.

People getting off a shuttle.
DART to launch new GoLink zones in Plano, Richardson

DART’s GoLink service offers on-demand, curb-to-curb shuttles to anywhere within each specified zone.

road construction
New lanes now open on Sam Rayburn Tollway as expansion project wraps up

The $200 million Sam Rayburn Tollway expansion project, which added one additional lane in each direction, has been completed.

Food.
Oni Ramen now open at CityLine in Richardson

Through its self-serve kiosks, the restaurant’s patrons can choose to order a variety of classic and signature ramen options, such as Signature Miso and Oni Reaper.

The school board will consider whether to call a special election to fill the vacancy or make an appointment. (Zara Flores/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Hays CISD to hold special meeting on resignation of board member; Montgomery approves plan for downtown and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Dec. 2.

Tomball City Council approved a development agreement with Lovett Industrial for 240 acres at Hwy. 249, Rocky Road Nov. 29. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Tomball City Council approves development of 240 acres at Hwy. 249, Rocky Road; JLB Eatery coming soon to Katy and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Dec. 1.

Crust Pizza Co. is opening soon in Montgomery and Willis. (Courtesy Crust Pizza Co.)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: 5 businesses coming to McKinney; Crust Pizza Co. to open two locations in Montgomery, Willis and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 30.

Building.
Element by Westin hotel now open in Richardson

The $22 million hotel features 123 suites over four stories. Each suite offers a fully equipped kitchen and spa-inspired bathrooms.

The median home price in the Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto area has risen considerably since last October. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Home sales, costs in Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto remain hotter than Greater Austin; Halal Guys opens in Pearland and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 29.

Commissioners on Nov. 22 voted to approve a density change to preliminary plans for The Preserve, a neighborhood that city documents said could include 565 single-family homes at the northeast corner of Teel and Panther Creek Parkways. (Courtesy city of Frisco)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Neighborhood near PGA Frisco could see larger lots; ERCOT says Texas power grid ready for expected winter demand and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 24.