SARATOGA SPRINGS — Fingerpaint has purchased a nearly 5,200-square-foot building just steps from the marketing agency's Broadway headquarters.
The business is located at 395 Broadway, at the intersection with Division Street, which previously housed a Borders Books and Music store until April 2011.
Fingerpaint Founder Ed Mitzen said the company recently purchased 1 Franklin Square, a two-story building built in 1836 — and located 450 feet from the Broadway headquarters — for $1 million.
Mitzen said Fingerpaint will use the building, which has office space on the first floor and four apartments on the second floor, as a creative workshop for employees.
"We do a lot of ideation, and it's helpful to have space to utilize for creative conception and brainstorming," he said. "Our creative team can sequester themselves away from the phones and day-to-day work to get the brain space they need to work on pitches."
Mitzen said the company, whose clients include Emma Willard and Glens Falls Hospital, would continue renting two of the apartments to current tenants while utilizing the other two for staff members.
"We're recruiting a lot of people from out of town, so this gives them a place to stay without rushing to find an apartment or buy a house," he said. "We want to make the onboarding experience more pleasant, and the more we can do for our staff, the better."
Mitzen added that the apartments would also be available to staff members who work late at night, over the weekend and during inclement weather.
"We wanted to provide an option for people to stay," he said. "We're always looking at ways to add value for our staff."
Andrew Kennedy, president and CEO of the Center for Economic Growth, said many cities throughout the Capital Region have embraced the strategy of maximizing mixed-use opportunities to deliver live-work-play options to young professionals.
"While it is unique to have an employer also act as a landlord, beyond offering a condo or extended-stay hotel suite, we've seen a growth of downtown apartments in Albany, Saratoga Springs and Troy," he said. "It's no coincidence that those cities have the fifth-, sixth- and ninth-highest concentrations of young professionals among cities nationwide."
Marty Vanags, president of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, said he's seen major companies in other cities invest in housing options for staff.
"They would use it as a strategy for when they have workers coming in from other parts of the country rather than pay for hotels," he said. "When they weren't being used, they would lease them out to Airbnb."
Fingerpaint, which also has offices in Scottsdale, Arizona, Columbus, Ohio and Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, has nearly 100 staff members at its Saratoga Springs location.
Mitzen said the company signed a 10-year lease nearly five years ago at its 24,000-square-foot space on Broadway.
"It had been vacant for 18 months and was a big eyesore in the city," he said. "At the time, we were around the corner in a traditional office space, and when you have clients visit, you want your office to look creative, and this had a great feel to it."
Though Mitzen found the Broadway building appealing, he said he did have concerns.
"I was terrified when I first leased it, because I worried it was too much space," he said. "The location is amazing, though, and the open feel fits with our culture, so it's worked out great."
As Fingerpaint continues to grow, Mitzen said the company is taking steps to prepare for the future.
"Space is one of the hardest things to plan for," he said. "We've got other offices around the country to put work into, but we want to make sure the office here continues to grow and is not limited to the physical space we have."
Mitzen said the company plans to explore its options before its lease expires.
"The next five years will fly by, and while we definitely want to stay downtown, we're looking at other properties we can potentially acquire or build," he said. "We love where we are though; it's a fun location and you can't beat it."