Gangplank walks itself to new downtown Tucson offices

Nonprofit aims to help entrepreneurs with mentoring, resources
2013-05-23T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T12:17:30Z Gangplank walks itself to new downtown Tucson officesDavid Wichner Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Gangplank Tucson, a nonprofit collaborative work space, has moved into its new downtown offices in the historic Pioneer Building, 100 N. Stone Ave., Suite 110.

Gangplank Tucson provides free resources and mentoring to local entrepreneurs, with the aim of bringing creative minds together to help drive economic and community development, entrepreneurship and civic engagement.

An affiliate of Chandler-based nonprofit Gangplank Collective, Gangplank Tucson opened in November 2011 at the Bookmans Event Center, off East Irvington Road near Interstate 10.

"We feel that being right in the heart of Tucson is the place to be," Aaron Eden, co-founder and director of Gangplank Tucson, said at the work space's grand reopening Wednesday.

"We want to be physically close to the city and the county, because we are encouraging civic engagement," said Eden, who works a day job as university-relations leader at software maker Intuit.

Though Gangplank moved into the space about three weeks ago, Eden said, the renovations are ongoing. The group recently got approval to knock down a row of half-walls that form cubicles in one part of the office, he noted.

"We're all about collaboration and innovation, and obviously people can't collaborate with walls between them," Eden said.

The new Gangplank features about 8,000 square feet of office space, with another 2,000 square feet of undeveloped space in the basement planned for audio and video studios.

Gangplank provides free space to 20 or so "anchors," or regular users, plus about 20 to 30 drop-ins daily. The anchors are asked to essentially pay the community back for rent, Eden said.

"They pay with karma instead of cash - we ask that they give back to the community, by either helping out with the space or helping the community."

Gangplank anchor Ben Reynwar, 34, who works in Web and software development, said the work space is a productive alternative to working at home or cafes, and the move makes it much more convenient. He got help recently at Gangplank to formalize his one-man company, Gyroid Enterprises LLC.

"It's fantastic to be downtown," said Reynwar, who came to Tucson about five years ago. "At the old place, I had to drive, but I can ride my bike here."

Eden said the shift to downtown was made possible by the Pioneer Building owner Holualoa Cos., whose president, I. Michael Kasser, has donated the facility's rent for the first six months.

Other local Gangplank partners include the University of Arizona's Arizona Center for Innovation, Bookmans, the Desert Angels, the Downtown Tucson Partnership, Intuit, Startup Tucson and the Arizona Technology Council.

Another co-working space, Spoke6, is at 439 N. Sixth Ave.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Pioneer Building opened as the Pioneer Hotel in 1929.

More info

Find out more about Gangplank Tucson at tucson.gangplankhq.com

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

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Featured businesses

View more...

Deals, offers & events

View more...