NORTH SMITHFIELD – Three highly visible – and long vacant – buildings in Park Square are on track to get new life following a unique renovation project that will make work space available to multiple small businesses in the region.
Kamil Sarji of Glocester purchased a .35-acre property at 581 Smithfield Road, which includes three buildings adjacent to Stop & Shop that once held a print shop, a garage and two-story home.
The structures, vacant since the print shop closed and the previous owners died several years ago, are now under renovation, with plans underway to house Sarji’s real estate brokerage firm, Gold Door Realty, as well as a cooperative shared workspace dubbed the Gold Door Co-op.
Sarji, a Woonsocket native who has been working in real estate investment since 2003, launched his independent brokerage last year. He’s since been hand-picking agents to join the firm, and already has a small team in action.
“I’m trying to build a culture here, so I’m not just accepting anybody,” Sarji told NRI NOW.
Gold Door agents, Sarji said, will be less competitive with one another than those you might find at your typical brokerage, and focused on team work, with everyone genuinely trying to help each other succeed, and working toward the same goal.
“I created it because I wanted to make it simple for the agent to focus on the client,” he said.
For a Gold Door client, that means access to a pool of knowledge and cumulative resources, with a main phone line that goes directly to every agents’ cell phone.
But the brokerage is just the start of Sarji’s plans for his new space by the busy Park Square intersection.
In the building that once held New England Image & Print, Sarji plans to launch the Gold Door Co-op, a membership-based office space where small businesses can meet with clients, hold conferences and more. It will feature a front room with an 85 -inch television, and desk space made up of long high top tables with stools. A separate, equally spacious room toward the back of the building will have space for cubicles with standalone desks, and a walled off conference room will feature meeting space for around ten people. All will have access to a kitchenette and two bathrooms, including one that is ADA compliant.
The co-op Sarji said, will cater to smaller home-based entrepreneurs in need of a place to meet with customers, to network, or even just to have mail delivered. Participation will be membership-based with three different levels.
The base plan, at $50 a month, will come with access to desk space in the front room as available, as well as time in the conference room.
For $200 a month, the mid-level plan secures members a, “floating chair,” and the ability to utilize the cooperative space as needed – although exactly where the member will land in the building on a given day will be subject to change.
A full membership entitles the owner to their own dedicated cubicle and a desk with a locking drawer, at a cost of $400 a month.
The conference room, Sarji said, will also be available for rent to non co-op members when it’s not in use, at a cost of $100 an hour. The front room will double as a space for larger conferences, as well as seminars taught by Sarji himself, on topics such as how to start a business, or using Excel or WordPress.
“I’ve done training classes for the public,” he explained.
In an attached building that was once a large commercial garage, Sarji’s first tenant, Eagle Exteriors, has already started to set up shop, with an exterior makeover showcasing some of the business’s siding products. That company will soon open a showroom inside the renovated structure.
And yard space behind the main two-story house on the lot will be used in the warmer months for catered networking and other events for co-op members.
“This is like an icon here in North Smithfield,” Sarji said of the property. “I want to try to bring a lot of businesses into town, and having this co-working space is a way to do that.”
He said he also hopes to be involved, not just with businesses, but the town and community as a whole.
Sarji said he aims to have renovations on all three structures completed with doors to the business open by late March. Businesses and others hoping to learn more should contact Sarji directly at 401-396-2888 or Kamil@GoldDoorRealty.com.