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Boutique Office Building and Coworking Community Supports Hoboken Entrepreneur’s Recovery and Relaunch
HOBOKEN, N.J., October 19, 2022 – Since 2011, the Barsky Gallery had been showcasing a carefully curated selection of original artworks by contemporary artists from its ground-floor art gallery in the Chambord Building at 49 Harrison Street in Southwest Hoboken. But the December 2021 fire that destroyed the building left founder and curator Al Barsky – along with dozens of entrepreneurs, artists and small business owners – literally out in the cold.
Today, Barsky is back to being one of New Jersey’s finest art providers in a new location at Mission 50 – thanks to the power of relationships and the community-minded vision of Gregory Dell’Aquila, CEO of JDA Group LLC (JDA).
Dell’Aquila, who has known Barsky for years and often stopped by the gallery, offered his help the day after the fire. “Greg asked us to let him know if we needed anything, but at the time I didn’t think much of it,” said Barsky. “There were so many unknowns. We couldn’t get into the Chambord Building for a month and a half, so I didn’t know the extent of the damage I was dealing with, or whether I could rebuild in the space or would have to move out.”
A Place to Recover and Regroup
When Barsky finally saw the extent of the smoke and water damage, he began searching for a new home for the gallery. Rent for the 1,200-square-foot space had been affordable, and he benefitted from the foot traffic generated by his prime location as the building’s anchor tenant. However, he soon discovered it was a tough act to follow. “The places I looked at were double or triple the rent,” he noted, “and as the weather got warmer and the ice from the water damage began to melt, the pressure to move accelerated because the inventory that survived the fire was being affected by the damp conditions.”
Barsky reached out to Dell’Aquila in mid-February of 2022, expressing interest in “a clean, dry place” where he could regroup and work on recovering and restoring some of the gallery’s surviving artworks. When he committed to a three-room, 850-square-foot office on Mission 50’s third floor, he was not thinking about reopening the gallery. “The space just wasn’t ideal,” said Barsky. “But Greg helped me with the rent, and I was grateful to have the opportunity, not just to stay in Hoboken, but to be right across the road at 50 Harrison Street.”
He moved his property piece by piece, cleaning and restoring it as well as purchasing new inventory from artists he represented to replace what was destroyed. He started hanging pieces in the Mission 50 hallway, and other tenants would stop and say how much they enjoyed seeing the artwork on display. Soon, Barsky set up a small showroom, added the hallway as his exhibition space, and began inviting clients to visit. “It’s by appointment only due to space limitations, but they seem to appreciate the more personal art-buying experience,” he said.
A Supportive Community Built for Small Business
Owned and managed by JDA, Mission 50 has a long history of serving entrepreneurs and small companies in the Greater New York City marketplace. “Mission 50 is built for entrepreneurial, community-centric businesses,” said Dell’Aquila, who spearheaded the building’s multi-million-dollar renovation and reintroduction in Spring 2021 to respond to evolving workplace needs.
The 80,000-square-foot boutique office and coworking community provides a collaborative, vibrant work environment with flexible offerings and a range of amenities to accommodate everyone from solo entrepreneurs and growing startups to seasoned businesses with 100-plus employees. Mission 50’s second floor features multiple conference rooms – complete with 85-inch electronic Samsung whiteboards and self-contained Zoom video conferencing systems – as well as The Saloon bar/lounge, espresso machines, televisions, and arcade games.
“Community strength is essential to helping people connect, build new networks and support each other,” said Dell’Aquila. “We’ve created numerous spaces where people can gather, and we curate a range of engagement experiences that are in line with the diverse needs of our members – whether they want to learn, network or just relax.”
For Barsky, the opportunity to connect with others has been an unexpected bonus. “It’s a very collaborative environment, and I enjoy being able to talk to people and get their opinions. I can go down to the second floor for coffee or meet a client for a drink in the bar. For someone who lost his entire gallery, it is inspiring to have people notice and comment on our recovery progress.”
Although he never expected to be at Mission 50 this long, Barsky is happy that, for now, the arrangement is working. While he continues to search for the perfect gallery space to re-activate his art business, he has no plans to leave Hoboken. “I’ve looked outside of the city, but people know me, know the brand and the quality of services Barsky Gallery offers, and this is my home. I live here, and I want to stay here.”
After a fire destroyed the building where Barsky Gallery was located in Hoboken, founder Al Barsky turned to the entrepreneurially focused Mission 50 coworking building across the street where he is restoring the artwork and developed an impromptu “hallway gallery” that has drawn the attention of the building’s tenants.
About Mission 50
50 Harrison St., Hoboken, N.J. 07030