Connect Coworking offers collaborative space downtown

2014-08-01T00:00:00Z Connect Coworking offers collaborative space downtownBy David Wichner Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

A special space to do business has opened in downtown Tucson.

Connect Coworking opened recently at 33 S. Fifth Ave., in the Rialto block at West Congress Street.

A project of Rialto block developer Scott Stiteler, Connect offers collaborative, cooperative office space on a drop-in, daily or monthly basis, with 2,000 square feet on the ground floor and 12,000 square feet on a second floor including a patio and balcony.

Rates range from $25 for a day’s use, $150 a month for unlimited visits during business hours and $400 a month for a desk and access 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A limited number of private glass-walled offices also are available at prices starting at $600.

Beyond office space, Connect offers an array of basic business-center services, a kitchenette and lounge area, and informal networking areas.

Tenants started moving into Connect in June and some are still moving in, said Stephanie Bermudez, community director of Connect. The more than 30 initial Connect members include several local Web-based startups, a law firm, an investment adviser and a local office of Uber, the app-based ride-sharing company.

Many co-working spaces are drop-in places offering free space and volunteer resources for budding entrepreneurs.

The for-profit Connect is aimed at more established businesses and individuals who don’t need their own stand-alone office but need an address and, from time to time, services or meeting space and want to collaborate with the entrepreneurial community, Bermudez said.

“We had this entire demographic of individuals who were completely unserved, and they are the kind of people we want to keep in Tucson because they are ready to impact our economy,” she said.

The initial response has met expectations for the business model that was honed through the developers’ experience with a small office, called Connect Beta, that opened nearby last year, she said.

“It’s cool — it’s exactly what we hoped for,” Bermudez said, noting that only two single office spaces and three of six larger offices remain available.

Connect will maintain close ties to local entrepreneurial resources, such as Startup Tucson and its CoLab co-working space, and the UA’s McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, she said. Connect is an organizer of Startup Tucson Weekend in September and will sponsor the event’s “Shark Tank” business-pitch competition, Bermudez noted.

The drop-in office space on Connect’s ground floor, called Work Lab, is expected to open in two to three weeks, Bermudez said.

Contact Assistant Business Editor David Wichner at dwichner@tucson.com or 573-4181.

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