Click Workspace buys Market Street building in Northampton, to triple size of co-working enterprise



Last modified: Sunday, January 18, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — A prominent Market Street building that for years housed two antique shops could soon be home to as many as 95 to 100 entrepreneurs, freelancers and other business owners under the banner of a co-working enterprise called Click Workspace Inc.

The key players of Click Workspace, which opened nearly four years ago in Hampton Court off Pleasant Street, closed this week on a deal to buy the three-floor, 9,000-square-foot building at 9.5 Market St. The building was acquired for just under $800,000 by Market9.5 LLC, a company that includes Click Workspace founders Ali Usman and Lisa Papademetriou, its President Mary Yun, and others.

Yun, an architect at Rice Yun Architects in Northampton, said Click Workspace will become the anchor tenant in the building and will occupy the first two floors and part of the lower level after it undergoes an extensive renovation this spring and summer. The new digs will give the co-housing endeavor room to triple the number of members from 30 to over 90, Yun said.

“We are constantly turning people away,” Yun said, saying that the 1,500 square feet of space at Hampton Court has been too small for at least two years. “The membership of Click is going to triple and we’ll have a bigger menu of membership types.”

Ranks of self-employed

Co-working is a growing movement to create community spaces for the self-employed, developers, writers, entrepreneurs and other freelancers who want to work on their own but still have a regular gathering spot where they can mingle and swap ideas. In addition to sharing ideas, members also share amenities such as wifi, conference rooms, kitchen and lounge areas, and other perks.

The concept has been popular in urban areas for years — Click Workspace is modeled on similar spaces in Boston and New York — and Yun said Click Workspace wants its Northampton headquarters to be the hub of a similar movement in the Valley.

She said the new Market Street building will help in this regard because it will be renovated in such a way that businesses can share resources and amenities through Click Workspace. Market9.5 will lease the top floor of the building to two office tenants which will gain membership to Click. Yun declines to name those businesses until leases are finalized.

Usman said Click Workspace plans to expand quickly, with more open seating and offices available. He said Click will finally have room for startup businesses of between two and five people that need office space but don’t want to sign a long-term lease or invest in infrastructure.

“It’s very important for innovation and creativity to have collaboration nowadays,” Usman said. “To go from 25 to 100 people strong, that’s enough of a scale that we will be able to do so much more.”

Additionally, as companies grow, they won’t be forced to move out because of space limitations, Usman said.

Usman said he’s also excited about Yun’s vision to expand Click’s hosting of events and workshops, not only for its own members but for businesses, nonprofits and others in the community. Like Click’s current home, the new building will have a large multi-use space that serves as a main office area for members but can be configured for board meetings, fundraisers, book readings and more. Yun said Click also plans on being an active participant in Arts Night Out and host other events featuring the arts.

“Part of my vision was having a venue to be able to do community-based events,” Yun said. “I’m totally excited because the project is whatever we make of it.”

The 1930s building will be renovated by Pioneer Contractors so that it is handicapped accessible and meets building codes. It will include construction of an elevator, a shower and may have a dedicated parking space for a bicycle rack. Yun expects the building to be complete and occupied in the fall.

Yun said the group has been looking to buy a building downtown for some time and its leaders are excited to find the perfect fit on Market Street, which they see as key to the city’s future development. With Amtrak service, a bike trail around the corner, and proximity to municipal parking lots, the location couldn’t better, she said.

“The minute I realized that the building was on the market, I knew this was the place for Click,” Yun said. “It’s a prime location.”

The Market Street building is now vacant, but until last fall housed the Antiques Center for 27 years on the main floor and two upstairs businesses, Stuart F. Solomon Antiques and Metropolitan Used and Rare Books. The Antiques Center closed last month and the other two businesses moved to other locations.

Solomon co-owned the building with Stephen Whitlock, who ran Antiques Center.

Chad Cain can be reached at ccain@gazettenet.com.


 


Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

© 2019 Daily Hampshire Gazette
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy