by Barrett Seaman –
The evolution of the modern workplace continues—right here in the rivertowns. The latest iteration is an 8,850-square-foot space on the ground floor of what was once an old brewery, then a Bible-printing house at 145 Palisades Street, down by the river in Dobbs Ferry. The building is already home to a number of independent small businesses and freelancers. What will be different with this space when it opens this month is that it will be a membership club that offers its clientele a range of space usage options in an environment that is designed to encourage connectivity.
The Hudson Collective, or Hudco, is, roughly speaking, a temporary office service that rents out access to its facilities on a monthly basis. The behemoth in this business is Regus, the temp office company with more than 2,000 locations worldwide and a variety of service models. Locally, there is The Aligned Center, a higher-priced spread in Irvington’s Bridge Street complex that sells mindfulness, meditation and investment advice along with glassed-in workstations. The Watercooler on North Broadway in Tarrytown, a more modest nest of alcoves and easy chairs, closed up shop about threeyears ago.
At Dobbs Ferry’s Hudco, the hook is co-working and connectivity at more affordable prices. Whereas The Aligned Center full-time occupancy costs $2,000-a-month, Hudco’s unlimited “Resident” package is $650-a-month. Members at that level get a permanent desk, chair and storage plus access to a variety of communal services, such as on-site food and coffee vendors, spaces for receptions, meeting rooms with video-conferencing capability and proximity to a variety of wellness practitioners—physical therapists, acupuncturist and psychological counselors who are also members of the collective.
At the lower end of the price spectrum is a $99-a-month package that includes four visits a month plus access to the communal areas, and a $39-a-month “Virtual” membership that brings with it the ability to reserve a conference room, mail service and communal access.
Overall, Hudco is designed to encourage its individual clients to connect with one another. “So many Westchester residents need a place to go to just get stuff done, just like people do in the city,” explained Christy Knell, one of Hudco’s four founders. “They want a place that feels as comfortable and welcoming as home (or a coffee shop!), and we are creating exactly that.”
A striking feature of Hudco’s design is its openness: a large common space, including a lounge area that invites members to get out from behind their desks and off their smart phones and interact with other members.
“They also want to be a part of a community,” added Knell, a magazine art director and village trustee, “[in order] to have the real-life interactions they yearn for when feeling the isolation of suburban living, plus social media FOMO (fear of missing out). We have an app to connect with fellow members, but then also the physical space to actually meet and connect about work and life.”
Among other benefits, the Hudco app tells members what kinds of discounts on services they can get from preferred vendors inside or outside the membership. “Our members get discounts at The Beauty Parlor (a hair salon in the building), Club Pilates, Haute Hamper (of Ardsley), Rivertowns Pediatrics, Mix on Main, and Oasis Day Spa,” says Knell.
Hudco’s co-founders are themselves four solo practitioners who have found symbiosis working in a smaller place a couple of floors above where Hudco will operate. Christy Sheppard Knell was an award-winning art director at magazines like WIRED, Vanity Fair and Martha Stewart Living before going freelance. Christina Cohen is an interior designer; Katherine Bagby is a physical therapist and Judy Haddad is a financial consultant.
Hudco opens for business on March 11. By late February, they had upwards of 70 members and plan to cap membership at 100. Details are available at www.hudco.com.