The vibrancy of the Downtown Phoenix community can be largely attributed to the spirit of creativity and collaboration amongst its residents, businesses and stakeholders.
One of the champions of that collaborative energy, downtown coworking space CO+HOOTS, will import its savvy for entrepreneurial community building to Tucson, another Arizona city working to revitalize its downtown.
Jenny Poon, founder of CO+HOOTS, is lending her expertise to a new coworking venture in downtown Tucson called Connect Coworking, which is part of a larger effort by Scott Stiteler, developer and manager of Tucson Urban, LLC., to help revitalize the area.
The coworking space will be part of Stiteler’s redevelopment of the historic properties he owns at Fifth Avenue and Congress Street in downtown Tucson and will occupy nearly 14,000 square feet of the historic Rialto building.
According to Poon, the developers wanted someone to help build a good coworking concept. They liked what they saw happening with CO+HOOTS and wanted to replicate their model for Tucson.
“Our model is really based on being involved in the community – intrinsically about wanting the community to be a better place, not just about being inside the space,” says Poon.
The collaboration with the Tucson space is a continuation of CO+HOOTS’ mission to support local entrepreneurship, not only in Phoenix, but in communities across Arizona.
“Our role in working with them is just going in, building collaboration between the two spaces and creating a larger ecosystem for entrepreneurship. We are just really looking at, how can we expand what we’re doing? The collaboration that we promote, how can we expand that collaboration between not just businesses within our space, but between collaborative work space across the state?” says Poon.
Poon will take the new space under her wing until they are able to expand on their own, but a connection between CO+HOOTS and Connect will remain. Along with their shared bird-themed branding (owls for CO+HOOTS and penguins for Connect), members of both groups will have the benefit of working at either space at no additional cost.
Despite any competitiveness between The Valley of the Sun and The Old Pueblo, Poon believes it is important to show that collaboration doesn’t have to happen within one space – it happens all over.
“A good rivalry is always fun, but I think our goal is to show that there are entrepreneurs everywhere in Arizona and that Arizona in general is a great place for small businesses to start off. Whether that be in Phoenix or Tucson or Flagstaff or Jerome or Chandler, Avondale or Gilbert, Mesa, West Valley, whatever – there is a place for entrepreneurs in Arizona.”
Learn more about Connect Coworking at connectcoworking.com.
CO+HOOTS, the downtown Phoenix co-working space, landed at its new home at 1027 E. Washington St. The move is part of a larger collaboration among local co-working spaces and incubators to create an entrepreneurial business corridor known as “Washington Row.”
After two successful years at their Garfield neighborhood location, CO+HOOTS is primed for growth. Having met their capacity with 20 businesses, the new space will allow them to offer support and expanded resources to a greater number of local entrepreneurs, while contributing to the development of downtown Phoenix. CO+HOOTS had been temporarily housed at monOrchid Gallery in Roosevelt Row since early August.
“The move will transcend CO+HOOTS beyond its functional role as a stand-alone collaborative space with desks and meeting rooms,” CO+HOOTS Founder Jenny Poon said. “It will help institute a big-picture plan focused on creating enduring partnerships and breathing life into the entrepreneurial core of the city.”
Others joining forces in the effort to put Phoenix on the map for its culture of innovation include SEEDspot, whose focus is on supporting social entrepreneurial ventures and the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation at Gateway Community College.
By establishing themselves along Washington, these spaces benefit from their proximity to each other and to the light rail, while helping to revitalize a key part of the city. As these small businesses grow, the concept is that they will eventually populate other buildings along Washington street, continually adding to the vibrancy of the corridor and the downtown Phoenix community.
CO+HOOTS and their partners in this effort have received strong support from Phoenix community leaders. Mayor Greg Stanton praised these business for having “the talent and vision critical to economic development in making our city competitive.”
Kimber Lanning, founder and executive director of Local First Arizona, also voiced her support, saying “Phoenix is becoming an outstanding place for entrepreneurs and CO+HOOTS is a shining example of a shared space that helps new businesses of all kinds thrive.”
“The city benefits in many ways when entrepreneurs are supported and we need to do all we can to keep our brightest, most innovative entrepreneurs here at home,” says Lanning.
Sure, every First Friday offers the opportunity to meander down a closed-off Roosevelt Street or watch naked people have their bodies painted in the back room of a gallery space off Grand Avenue. That’s all fine and good, but sometimes we need something a bit out of the ordinary during our beloved four-hour window of joy. For something different this First Friday, check out the preview event of Fractal, a collaborative space inside the Bragg’s Pie building.
So, what is Fractal? It’s a space and an idea formed by a collection of community-minded organizations — communitasPHX, Dojo Collective and MethodLab Media. There is no denying that Downtown Phoenix has long needed a space for co-working, collaboration, idea sharing, workshopping and presentation. Fractal aims to be that place. It’s positioning itself as “a home for the socially responsible creative class,” and we like the sound of that. In recent months, the Bragg’s Pie building has welcomed a diverse number of tenants — Sapna Café and Modern Cat among them — and Fractal will be a complementary piece to its jigsaw-like layout.
The preview event, running during the traditional 6-10 First Friday hours, is meant to raise awareness about the space and display the work of several prominent designers and artists from Phoenix, including Megan Wright, Chad Knapp, Tyson Crosbie, Mark Dudlik, Andrew Coppola, Jason Ayers, Jamie Martin, Jenny Messerly and more.
As an added bonus, networking group Phoenix Friday Night will host its Downtown Friday Night (@downtownfn or #DTFN on Twitter) get-together at Fractal as well, which always guarantees good socializing, Downtown exploration and more than a few laughs. As if that doesn’t sound totally rad already, it’s BYOB, so… it’ll be a really good time. To RSVP, hit up the Facebook.
If you’re interested in contributing to Fractal, click here.
Fractal is located at 1301 NW Grand Avenue in the Bragg’s Pie building.