Brides-to-be and party planners have a new option to consider when venue-searching in Westchester County.
The vacant top floor of a three-story warehouse at 2 South Astor St. in Irvington has been transformed into a 9,000-square-foot wedding and events space called Hudson Loft.
Next to the Irvington Metro-North Railroad station and with panoramic views of the Hudson River and Tappan Zee Bridge, the venue features a 6,600-square-foot main room, along with a full kitchen and an event suite with a private bathroom.
Hudson Loft, situated just across the train tracks from the Scenic Hudson Park, is the brainchild of a partnership between commercial developer William Thompson and marketing entrepreneur Tobi Schmidt, who say the venue is the first of its kind in the area.
“There’s a void in the market for this type of space here. There’s nothing like it in Westchester County,” Thompson said. “There’s the standard type of venue: country clubs, hotels, the tented areas, estates, stuff like that, but there are no lofts.”
Friends prior to the venture, Thompson and Schmidt had discussed working together for some time before taking the plunge with Hudson Loft. A longtime developer in the area, Thompson is the owner of Bridge Street Properties, the former Lord & Burnham greenhouse factory complex at 1 Bridge St. in Irvington that he and partners redeveloped as office suites, shops and restaurants. For Schmidt, who has a background in photo production and location scouting, the search for the perfect venue is one she knows well.
For her and Thompson, “Creatively, there was that connection (between us) of real estate and the vision of refurbishing old things,” Schmidt said. “He had mentioned an event space and that it would be a cool joint venture with my background and his background.”
The warehouse that would soon become the home of Hudson Loft was part of Thompson’s existing real estate portfolio, one of the buildings in his Astor Buck property group that also includes the neighboring Cosmopolitan Building.
“He presented this space, and that’s when all these lights went on like, ‘Oh, this could be an event space. This could be a photoshoot place. This could be a really cool spot,’” Schmidt said.
After six months of renovations, the special events space is purposely sparse, with dark hardwood floors, large metal ceiling fixtures and exposed ductwork and concrete walls.
“We had a lot of help in terms of when we were doing the buildout we were fortunate enough to connect with a lot of (event) planners who were able to come in and kind of say, ‘You know what be so great in an event space like this?’ and we really, really listened and took a lot of advice in,” Schmidt said.
A refurbished freight elevator will carry guests to the third-story venue from the ground floor entrance.
“We tried to keep the character, a little of that warehouse feel,” Schmidt said.
Irvington residents themselves, the pair said the layout will work for a variety of events, from a farm-to-table meal to an upscale dinner or a magazine photoshoot.
“We felt that this is a blank slate, and you can do anything you want with it,” Thompson said.
The kitchen space is also open to customization. Instead of employing a full-time staff or reaching an exclusive agreement with a single caterer, clients will be able to hire and bring in their own preferred vendors to use the cooking facilities.
“We wanted to do something where we knew we weren’t part of the food, but we wanted people to know that when they came here, they were going to receive a high level of excellence with the food,” Schmidt said.
Thompson said that the event venue is also a great use for the space because of its light parking impact. Compared to a regular business that would be in use during typical 9-to-5 hours, guests will largely be visiting the space and needing parking spaces on evenings and weekends, times when the empty Metro-North commuter spaces will be available.
“That optimization of parking is huge for us,” Thompson said.
With a launch party set for the end of September, Hudson Loft has a series of private events lined up for the fall and has already booked a number of holiday parties for December.
“It affords itself to be something for everyone,” Schmidt said.