Just blocks from downtown Dobbs Ferry, a stately white manor rises above the sparkling Hudson. Inside, 10-foot-high windows overlook the river, bringing a spectacular backdrop to weightlifting-class warmups, salon styling sessions, or, for people from dozens of different professions, just another day at the office. This is Hudson River Landing (HRL), a creative commercial building unique to the Rivertowns. HRL’s 93 tenants — a diverse mix, including everything from electrical consultants to acupuncturists, a medical research company, fitness trainers, florists, and a salon — cite similar advantages to their unorthodox venue: its attractive location, proximity to clients all over Westchester and Rockland, and the beauty of the space itself.
Designated as the erstwhile Livingstone Manor by a commemorative plaque affixed to the building, the 160,000 sq. ft. structure on 15 acres at 145 Palisade Street began as a brewery in 1853. It burned down and reopened in the 1930s as a Bible printing press, then was repurposed as a U.S. Navy office building. It was mismanaged and disheveled by the time HRL management picked it up in 2014. Today, its three levels are booming.
Photo by Doug Schneider
A microcosm of the project’s collaborative ethos is the Hudson Collective (HudCo), a shared workspace occupying a well-lit and welcoming ground-floor suite. According to Christy Knell, a graphic designer and co-founder of HudCo, the Rivertowns’ demand for shared workspace drove the project’s expansion from just four local businesses to a sprawling network with a strong wellness component. Professionals from Bronxville to Larchmont are drawn to “the creative vibe and the spectacular space,” says Knell. “Plus, there just isn’t this kind of square footage elsewhere in the area, with this kind of bones.”
Prior to the acquisition, 145 Palisade Street had also been an artists’ colony. While many redevelopment projects have, historically, displaced artistic communities, HRL made a point of retaining and expanding the one on its premises, encouraging artists to work, teach, and exhibit in the manor. “[Before the restoration] it was like we were entombed in this wet, mildewed place,” says Madge Scott, an award-winning painter who’s kept a studio in the manor for a decade. “It’s like a castle now. The building has changed; the light has come in.”
Property manager Florim Bajraktari describes the project as “restoration, not renovation,” designed to let the manor’s rustic elements shine through. “I’ve seen people bastardize beautiful buildings with cutesy gimmicks,” says Bajraktari, who’s worked on renovation projects around Europe prior to settling in New York. “I think there’s a story to be told through something old.”
Photo courtesy of Hudson River Landing
Though at press time there was a waiting list 30 deep for any space between 300 and 500 square feet, Bajraktari recently subdivided 20,000 square feet of the premises to create suites ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 square feet, some of which are still available. “It is very frustrating for us to put people on a waiting list because it’s not the type of building that we are…The truth is people love being a part of this community and generally, once you’re a 145-er, you don’t leave,” says Bajraktari.
The turnaround time for renting open spaces is less than 30 days, and sometimes new leases are signed on the same day an old tenant moves out.
Hoping to keep the party going in Dobbs Ferry, Bajraktari is currently courting caterers to expand the building’s potential as an after-work gathering hub. “We’ve already created this buzz by day,” says Bajraktari, “so the next step is to turn the corner and make it what it’s truly capable of being.”