Schenectady co-working company expanding with Scranton location

Jeff Goronkin, CEO of Urban Co-Works, poses for a photograph in front of the company's new facility in Scranton, Pa.
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Jeff Goronkin, CEO of Urban Co-Works, poses for a photograph in front of the company's new facility in Scranton, Pa.

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SCHENECTADY — A Schenectady co-working company is branching out to new horizons with the establishment of its second office space in Scranton, Pa.

Urban Co-Works, which originally set up shop in 2017 at 433 State St. in downtown Schenectady, is planning to open its second location in a 19,100 square-foot space in Scranton by the summer, according to Urban Co-Works CEO Jeff Goronkin.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Goronkin said of expanding the company’s footprint. “We were able to figure things out in Schenectady and create a model that people really like and enjoy. People just love being there and we want to replicate that in Scranton and beyond.”

The co-working company has been exploring the possibility of expanding outside of Schenectady over the past year, with the firm zeroing in on Scranton.

“We started looking at other communities in the Northeast that were similar in demographics to Schenectady and walkability,” Goronkin said. “We came to Scranton and fell in love with the facility. The people are great and we connected with the City of Scranton and they were extremely helpful in making connections to building owners.”

The Scranton space has been outfitted with over 60 offices, conference rooms and a large co-working area.

“There is not currently an option for co-working in Scranton, so this is brand new to the community and we think people are going to love it,” Goronkin noted.

Goronkin said a day after announcing the Scranton location on social media that the company has already been contacted by prospective clients.

“Urban Co-Works’ expansion into Scranton is testament to the city’s work to build a leading business environment that aligns with the future of work,” Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti declared in a statement. “We look forward to the innovation that Urban Co-Works will bring to our economy.”

Goronkin said the company has further plans for expansion, with the hope of establishing one new site per year for the next five years in Northeast cities.

“If the towns are walkable, people enjoy working in an urban area that’s been revitalized,” he said. “They like to walk over to a coffee shop or a restaurant for lunch or to go shopping or go to a show. Co-working really adds to that mix. So we look at walkability scores.”

After opening its State Street complex in 2017, the co-working concept was initially slow to catch on in Schenectady but Goronkin said the company reached capacity at its original location by 2019.

Goronkin says the company’s business began to decline swiftly when the pandemic arrived in the spring of 2020, with half of the company’s clients departing during that year.

“But during that time we knew that the pandemic wasn’t going to be permanent and we looked for ways to expand the business,” he said. “The pandemic really kind of shined a light on flexible work space options, because nobody was really going back to the office, but people were kind of cooped up at home with all of the distractions and issues that go along with working at home, so they needed someplace to work.”

In an effort to expand the company’s office space in 2021, the business relocated to The Benjamin building at 430 Franklin St. in November, with the company reaching capacity in the 40-office space within a matter of months.

Goronkin said the company is now looking to expand in the city beyond the 10,000 square-foot space the company currently leases.

“We’re hoping to bring on at least 3,000 more [square feet],” he explained.

The CEO said that co-working has gained a strong foothold in the city six years after Urban Co-Works opened its doors.

“Pre-pandemic, no one really knew what co-working was,” Goronkin said. “So when we started, it was an educational process. We would have to tell people what flexible office solutions actually were and how you can have an office a couple days a week, full-time or work side-by-side with people from other companies. It was kind of a unique product. It was really focused more on major metropolitan areas like New York City or Chicago, so it was really new for the area.”

Categories: Business, News, News, Schenectady, Schenectady County

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