The cronut-hungry line that bleeds down Spring Street from the Dominque Ansel Bakery had mostly dissipated by early afternoon. The lunch crowds had abandoned the cafes, and Soho’s southwest corner was quiet. Three stories above, a similar atmosphere prevailed but in a far more unlikely venue: the office of a fashion industry start-up.
In an easily missed building between Spring and Broome streets is Thompson Square Studios, where between sips of chilled cucumber water, fashion media staffers fill half a dozen four-to-12-person rooms. Except for the light indie-electro music piped into the halls, the boutique offices, which opened in March, feel serene and slightly removed from New York’s hurly-burly.
In the age of WeWork, this is a familiar — if somewhat more civilized — model: Growing businesses rent month-to-month offices in collaborative spaces. But Thompson House is different from its tech-savvy rivals. For one, it’s members-only.
The company sees its version as a blend of London-style social clubs, which are elite but can be exclusionary, and New York clubs, which are large, bustling social spaces for entrepreneurs. It plans to open similar office spaces in Los Angeles, Miami, London and Shelter Island.
What this means is that the companies renting the studios are granted access to weekly private events, health and wellness classes and parties with industry pals.
Members have access to shared house cars, personal assistants and even helicopter transport.
“Every Thursday we host ‘Members’ Drink,’ where we feature a founding member and we host them and their friends,” Pia Del Puerto, operations director, said, leaning against the bar on the far end of the front room. At the parties there is Veuve Cliquot provided by Pera Soho — the Mediterranean restaurant on the ground floor — and a live DJ.
“The sky is pretty much the limit,” Del Puerto said. “It’s all about going above and beyond — as long as it is legal.”
And she means it. What really sets Thompson Square Studios apart is its 24/7 access to “CEO-level” concierge service. Members have access to shared house cars, personal assistants and even helicopter transport to airports — that will serve a forthcoming Shelter Island location.
Shunning the minimal aesthetic typical of most co-working spaces, Thompson Square Studios has gone for a sophisticated style in keeping with its devotion to hospitality.
The space is furnished by Restoration Hardware and designed by Thompson House Group CEO Robert Herrick. There is a dark wood-paneled lounge, a spacious Hamptons-style kitchen, picture-frame molding on the walls and a white-tablecloth dining area.
And Restoration Hardware isn’t the only favored brand: Coffee is by Birch, local restaurants cater lunch and members receive welcome baskets from Fortnum & Mason with English biscuits and Turkish delight.
Each office features a hotel-style minibar stocked with gourmet munchies, lunch is served restaurant-style and a barista serves espresso each morning.
“We compare it to a luxury hotel,” Del Puerto said. “We want our members to feel comfortable and look forward to coming into work. We cater to their needs. We offer white-glove service.”