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Bespoke coworking spaces incubate Phoenix’s next success stories

by Taylor Costello
Business Development Community Phoenix Community Alliance Spotlight Taylor Costello March 3, 2022

Not too long ago, Phoenix was not considered a place where startups would thrive and innovate.

Over the last decade, a concerted public relations effort by local government helped peel back mischaracterizations to unveil a collaborative silicon valley in the desert. Community groups like Greater Phoenix Economic Council, #YesPHX, Arizona Tech Council and Startup AZ Foundation exist alongside the city’s economic development department to provide a nurturing parachute and community to new arrivals.

“It was this idea if you want to start something, you will be embraced instead of in competition with people,” said Sara Scoville-Weaver, business development director at Downtown Phoenix Inc. “That’s something I’ve heard continuously from the startup community, from new founders who move here and that’s why they stay.”

The arrival of Co+Hoots in 2010 as the first “official” coworking space kicked off the paradigm shift. It also reflected a distinct downtown ethos — interconnectivity and collaboration. Coworking offers both, in addition to flexibility – office space that can grow with your company, all while saving money on traditional commercial lease costs.

More than a decade into the phenomenon, there are certain amenities presumed: modern cubicles to fit differing sizes and needs, full-time concierge staff for every office supply or personnel need, a dedicated copier and scanner, a conference room and beyond.

Downtown now boasts 10 coworking spaces, with more on the way. The following list is not an exhaustive accounting of them all, but provides a glimpse inside this unique work model, which continues to grow and attract new businesses.

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X Phoenix (*)

Residences on the top, workspaces on the bottom. The new wrinkle of live/work lifestyle flattens the distance between work and play to provide boardroom and office space in one lucrative package for an entire life experience.

It’s a model newer residential developments integrate wholesale into designs, some more so than others. Memberships can be offered separately from leasing if that is not the main goal.

Launching as the first X location with specific coworking membership, X Phoenix blurs the line between clubhouse and coworking, serving as a reminder to the fun out of the periphery. One of the coworking floors overlooks views of the deck and resort-style pool below. On either side, an outdoor gym or weight-lifting room bookend rows of long work desks and traditional boardroom and traditional office settings. A dedicated workspace for long-term usage, overlooking ground-floor retail, will open later in spring 2023.

200 W. Monroe Street | 602-887-1131

KENECT Phoenix (*)

Kenect focuses on short-term leases, up to 18 months, for upwardly mobile professionals. Located just up the stairs off the residential entrance on a dedicated coworking floor, but not isolated from the community events they offer, members can partake in resident activities when they’re not using their workspace staples or mingle with fellow membership (offered in three different packages) in the common work areas. For them, the social membership is an integral part of the experience.

355 N. Central Avenue | 602-742-2913

THE DEPARTMENT

When the City of Phoenix began wooing emerging tech and startups to downtown in 2014, its economic development department pitched historical buildings and physical infrastructure, as well as what made the area attractive, like its walkability. But it also promoted the interconnected educational system, and endless entertainment options.

Taking its name from a past life as a midcentury department store, the seven-floor, 400,000-square-foot collaborative workspace offers a bespoke, distinctly coworking space in a centralized downtown location. From a single chair to an entire floor, the building allows businesses to expand almost wherever, as needed. The software company, Virtuous Software, takes up the entirety of the sixth floor, while an office for the Phoenix Symphony takes up part of a lower floor.

1 N. First Street | 602-883-2839

EXPANSIVE

Occupying the entirety of the historic Heard Building, Expansive co-exists with the period charm of the century-old midrise. The subway tile and mail slots in between elevator shafts are reminiscent of Heard’s professional occupants both past and present. Every Expansive location offers a snapshot of the services with businesses and organizations, like Sanford Law Firm (business), Wexford Science + Technology (education) and Yager Road Design (retail). Each member can place their logo on the glass door to make it an official office.

112 N. Central Avenue | 480-877-9229

First Studio

From the iconic Wallace & Ladmo mural thousands of light rail passengers pass every day, First Studio announces itself as an artistic enclave. Started by Theresa Murray and her husband, before the concept of a shared coworking space entered the lexicon, they’ve adapted the former studio and office space. Tenants of varied artistic talent, like creative Emmy winners, photographers and artist Kristine Kollasch, occupy the converted studio.

631 N. First Avenue | 602-957-7760

The McKinley Club

Located near Grand Avenue, McKinley Club infuses an industrial and bespoke vibe at their facility, with members who represent a broad cloth of talents, like the non-profit Trees Matters, event planner Cloth & Flame and publication Copper Courier. According to Celine Rille, one-half of the husband and wife owner, their space intends to be a comfortable extension of a member’s home. That sentiment is exemplified in the form of overgrown succulents in one suite or the geometric statement walls found throughout. Those murals? Painted by Danielle Hacche, who is Rille’s sister.

734 W. Polk Street | 602-908-7640

Other downtown live/work spaces:

AVE Phoenix Terra | 555 N. Fifth Avenue | (602) 836-4680

Skye on 6th  | (Summer 2023)

The Battery PHX | (Spring 2022) | 401 S. Third Street | 833-441-1468

Other downtown coworking spaces:

The Ellis | (Coming Soon) | 135 N. Second Avenue | 602-570-5403

Galvanize | 515 E. Grant Street | 602-362-2670

SPACES | 2 N. Central Avenue | 602-759-7300

WeWork | 101 N. First Avenue | 602-429-9771

* Phoenix Community Alliance Member

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