Is there a factory in their pocketbook?

Sean Roland (l) and Gabriel Katz are planning to develop the empty Hudson building known as The Pocketbook Factory at Prospect and N 6th Streets for multiple uses. Photo by Jeanette Wolfberg

HUDSON—The new owners of a large, long-empty factory building in Hudson are seeking municipal permission to convert it into a mixed use facility with a hotel, a wellness center, artists studios, businesses and community space.

The 70,000-square-foot, three-story+ attic brick building stands on Prospect, Sixth and Washington Streets, across Sixth Street from a fire house, near Oakdale Lake. The owners are already talking with the Hudson Planning Board and hope to begin “hard construction” in the spring of 2022; they expect construction will last 24 months.

Known earlier as Union Mills and later as the Pocket Book Factory, the plant ceased operations in the 1970s, according to Gabriel Katz and Sean Roland, the owners of PBF Hudson, LLC, which was established in January this year. They bought the factory building from the Eleanor Ambos Foundation.

On June 27 the owners held a “neighborhood meet and greet,” giving the public a chance to step into part of the building and its courtyard.

“We’re at the beginning of a very long journey to restore the building and bring it back to life for the people of Hudson,” Mr. Roland told the June 27 gathering. A goal is “to create spaces that are welcoming and inclusive…. To create inclusive spaces for the diversity” of Hudson’s population, he said.

Asked how the hotel would fit into this vision. Mr. Roland replied, “We’re planning an owner-operated hotel. I’ve spent my life working in bars and restaurants.”

Acknowledging that at Planning Board hearings, one topic that arises is Hudson’s need for housing, Mr. Roland said, “I agree. But as we look to the future and the past, we look to what will be good economics.”

“We’re not looking to recreate what’s already on Warren Street,” Mr. Roland told the visitors. “When done, the exterior will look sort of like what it does now. The doors and windows will be the same. It’s raw, it’s industrial, it’s beautiful. ” He added that energy efficiency requirements will require replacing some features.


‘It’s “an exciting challenge.’

Gabriel Katz

PBF Hudson, LLC


In addition, plans call for a 1,500-square foot addition to the exterior. The courtyard, Mr. Roland said, would be open to the public, with trees around the perimeter. Mr. Katz said, “We’re talking about planting, farming, holistic health.”

Mr. Katz acknowledged that the heavy construction period would bring “noise and dust.” But he said the end product would be a “green” and “carbon neutral” building, calling the project “an exciting challenge.”

Some funding will come from tax credits for restoring historical spaces and tax credits for job creation, Mr. Roland said.

When asked about employment for Hudson residents, Mr. Katz mentioned the project’s “commitment to local hiring” during construction and afterward.

Mr. Roland said he has lived in the Hudson area “a long time” and when he has friends over, he asked, “What do you do other than walk up and down Warren Street, go to the riverfront, or hang out in your backyard?” He suggested that his “adaptive reuse” of the factory building would provide another option.

As for parking, the two developers are “talking about” leasing a city-owned lot across from the fire station, where the city puts snow. They are also looking at other nearby sites in addition to shuttles from the train station. “The best use of urban space is to park once and walk,” Mr. Roland said.

Mr. Katz said he has worked with his father and uncles at MacArthur Holdings, which “restores historic buildings in large and small cities.” The MacArthur Holdings website calls the enterprise a “family run real estate business with over 70 years experience owning and operating property.… We invest in and develop multifamily properties and hotels.”

Mr. Katz is now a partner at MacArthur and said his grandfather founded it. PBF Hudson has the same corporate headquarters address in Manhattan as MacArthur Holdings.

Empty interior of the Pocketbook Factory. Photo by Jeanette Wolfberg

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