Uniland Development Company’s coworking space – Hansa – at 505 Ellicott Street, is now open for business.
A tour with Jill Pawlik, Senior Marketing Manager at Uniland, Kellena Kane, President and Co-Founder HANSA, proved to be quite entertaining and enlightening.
There is nothing else like the space, or the highly developed concept, in Buffalo. That’s because the attention to detail is second to none.
What is especially unique about Hansa are the different levels of interaction between the members, the building functionality, and the resources and amenities. Top level conveniences include a micro market based on the honor system (fresh vending – scan items and self checkout), privacy phone booths, white board walls, mail room conveniences, copy stations (black and white copies are free), a reservable podcast studio, conference arrangements, interior bike rack, swank break rooms, changing rooms with showers, and huddle rooms. The amenities go on and on, many of which are interfaced with high level Cloud-based technology.
There are plenty of ways for individuals or groups to customize membership packages to suit their respective needs. From medical students to small tech squads, an individual/group can choose to be flex members, have dedicated desks, private offices, team rooms, or even team suites. There are plenty of opportunities to interact with others, or to escape into a cozy little cubby area (to retreat from work for a spell).
Open 24-7, Hansa is what members want to make of it. There are plenty of scheduled social activities and pop-ups, as well as training and teaching opportunities.
HANSA (pronounced hähn-sä) is, fittingly, Latin for ‘guild,’ meaning to unite people for a common purpose.
Kane pointed out that Hansa is “… rooted in economic development in the Central Business District (CBD). The coworking concept adds to the success of the Innovation Center and 43North. It also takes an underutilized single-story warehouse and turns it into something that is authentic, and suited for the global economy.”
Pawlik added that she felt that the work from home model has been handy, but that people are getting “stretched,” and will be looking for a shared workspace options that offer more flexibility. People miss the sense of community, but they also miss out on the modern tech conveniences that an office environment of this sort can provide, not to mention the free WiFi and coffee (see all amenities and conveniences).
The heart of Hansa is the sprawling open centralized floor plan that can be reconfigured to accommodate any type of collective demand. Want to watch the Bills game on a Sunday? Just roll the mobile keg in front of the large flatscreen. Boom! Need to set up for a conference? Then set a date, reserve a space via Smartphone, reconfigure the tables and chairs, and get cracking.
During the day, there are staff members onsite, who are in place to “curate the community.” Staff members help with guest check-in regulations, open the garage doors to the patio when the weather is nice, set up for pitch nights, help to program pop-ups and happy hours, and make sure that everything is operating up to snuff.
During the tour, Pawlik and Kane pointed out a new mural by artist Ashley Kay, a gallery wall showcasing the works of resident artist Alyson MacVittie O’Connor from Rust Belt Love (artists rotate month to month), and the future location of a “member wall,” where everyone will get a chance to see who’s who in the 32,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility. “It’s not totally done yet,” said Kane. “We’re still getting some furniture in, but we’re close to being finished.”
The way the space is set up, I don’t think that the Uniland team will ever be “finished,” because it’s an ever-evolving office environment that’s geared towards a wide spectrum of workers with varying demands, including retirees looking for flex space or companies that are expanding and in need of swing space.
Kane attributed the dynamic breadth of the Hansa project to a lot of research. “We looked at what other cities were doing,” she told me. “We learned what people wanted from these types of coworking spaces, and made sure that all of the amenities were built in – we worked with our interior designer, Mary Hazlett, who did an incredible job.”
Uniland is also incorporating a number of Buffalo touches into the space, including a couple of walls featuring Red Disk Wallpaper – to add some hometown appeal. There’s even a “mother’s room” for lactating moms. Yes, they pretty much thought of it all, and then some.
I especially like the seating along “The Perch” on the second floor that allows a nice vantage point onto the action below. Or maybe by the fireplace? Who knows, maybe I’ll access the Cloud and reserve a flex room, or digitally sign up for a pop-up yoga class by the patio. You never know – each day can be different, depending on the wants and needs of the members.
Up next, Uniland has set aside a 1300 square foot space for a deli or a coffee shop – they are currently talking to prospective tenants, but are still entertaining concepts. Once that shop is full functioning, there’s going to be a whole other level of activity that will enhance the coworking habitat, while bringing some additional life to the street.
Uniland has set up some “opening promos” for anyone looking to get in while the going is good. And at this point, it’s as good as it gets.
Get Connected: HANSA, 716-322-4277 | Off street parking is available | View memberships