Isabel Bysiewicz

Local officials did not use scissors to cut a ribbon at the opening ceremony celebrating the expansion of MakeHaven, a local arts and engineering center. Rather, Mayor Toni Harp and MakeHaven Executive Director J.R. Logan used an electric saw to cut through wood.

Members and staff of MakeHaven, city officials and New Haven residents gathered on Monday afternoon at 770 Chapel St. to celebrate its move to a larger location, which will allow for a wider array of projects. Since 2012, MakeHaven Inc. has been a nonprofit workshop for innovators in New Haven County. The move was sponsored in part by CT Next, the city of New Haven and the Elm City Innovation Collaborative.

“I’m very excited about the prospects for this new location and the opportunity for all the more dreaming, tinkering and creative activity,” Harp said at the opening event. “This expansion of MakeHaven is a significant step forward in a citywide effort that’s transforming New Haven into a next-generation center of innovation and activity.”

The new space features a woodshop, a CNC wood mill, a laser cutter and more equipment for other projects, such as sewing, printmaking, electronics, communications, brewing, mold-making and 3-D printing. The 6,000-square-foot center is three times the size of the center’s previous space, according to MakeHaven operations manager Kate Cebik.

The new location initially opened in March, but parts of the space were still under construction until the end of the summer. Cebik said MakeHaven’s enlarged space will allow members — who often come in the early hours of the day before work, during lunch breaks and late into the night — more freedom in their work. The space will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Logan said in a press release that the organization’s enhanced space and programming will allow MakeHaven to broaden its impact on the community.

“It has been wonderful to see the excitement of our members and guests as they realized the amazing things that can be built in this fantastic new location,” he said.

In addition the facilities upgrade, a new MakeHaven initiative — Prototype to Product Pipeline— will bring experts to New Haven to present on subjects such as building prototypes, methods of designing for manufacturing and more.

Attendees at the ceremony toured the new space and talked to owners about upcoming projects. Nicholas Souris, who has been a member of MakeHaven for more than a year, said he’s excited about the expanded work space for projects.

“I’m most excited about [having] the more space, really — the ability to have a lot of different people doing different things,” Souris said.

MakeHaven will host a number of events for members in the upcoming weeks — including this content AED and CPR certification, printmaking lessons and woodshop workshops. On Tuesday nights, the center hosts open hours in which visitors can test new equipment.

The membership fee for MakeHaven is $50 a month.

Isabel Bysiewicz |