Tribeca Citizen | A new social club is coming to Broadway
When Colleen Brooks first started crunching numbers for her vision of a third space, it was a side hustle from her private equity gig. She knew the concept could work on paper, but it was only once she started looking at real estate here in the neighborhood (she saw a total of 70 downtown) that she could envision it coming together. And so Highcourt was born: “a leisure-forward, next-generation hospitality company.” Think urban country club, but thankfully minus the tennis whites.
“I wanted a place like this so badly,” said Colleen, 33, lives in Chinatown. “As a New Yorker, I didn’t just want to be in my tiny apartment or at work. The only option to socialize with friends is to go to dinner and have the restaurant want to turn the table over in an hour.”
Colleen’s co-founder and creative partner is her sister, Hailey, 30 (they grew up in Rutherford, NJ) so it is suiting that the two landed at the Grosvenor Building at 385-387 Broadway, which was deeded to and managed by two sisters — Matilda and Charlotte Grosvenor — when it was built in 1875. (As per usual, see Tom Miller’s post here, which traces the building’s history as a center for the manufacturing of umbrellas, canes and Remington typewriters, as well as the offices of AT&T.) They have leased the entire five-story building for 20 years, and that gives them 20,000 square feet to program. Plan is to have two floors dedicated to physical culture, one to project space and one to a restaurant, with passive outdoor space for members on the roof. The ground floor will be leased to a gallery on one side; they are still exploring plans for the north side.
(Both will bring some life to this stretch of shuttered storefronts on Broadway.)
Membership will cost $290 a month, and there is already a waitlist. The sisters are aiming to start with 1100 members — that’s where the economics start to work — but will determine the maximum number once they get started and see how the space is used. The schedule is to open this mid-year 2020, and then look to expand to other locations. Local private investors seeded the company and and they scored venture capital funding for the Series A. The sisters bootstrapped it in the beginning, selling a townhouse to fund the development stage and only recently quitting their day jobs. For expertise, they have an advisor — Smaiyra Million, who was the CEO of the company that owns Reebok Sports Clubs — and a Chelsea-based design group, Kramer, handling the interiors.
The space is amazing — classic Broadway loft style, with massive ceiling heights and interior arches in the exposed brick walls. The goal will then be to fill it with people who will want to use it as their home away from home. “Everyone is trying to build community,” said Colleen. “I wanted to use my time more intelligently.” Or as the company’s tagline says, “Honor your off hours and upgrade your downtime.”