CO+HOOTS, a downtown Phoenix coworking business, recently announced a Nov. 3 move into their new address at Washington and 11th streets, pushing back the original date of Oct. 1.
The business has been temporarily located at Roosevelt Row’s monOrchid since August. The original location was in the Bayless Building at Garfield and Seventh streets.
The new location, dubbed CO+HOOTS 2.0 by the owners, will feature an expanded room for conferences and private phone calls, and a coffee shop called Greater Than Coffee.
Lance Meilech, the new CO+HOOTS landlord, said the new location will be easy to commute to and from and is within the area of downtown development.
“It’s located right near a light rail stop, and it’s downtown,” Meilech said. “The area is, how shall we say, an area in transition. There’s a lot of action in this area.”
During CO+HOOTS’ time at MonOrchid, the company has managed to sign on more than ten new memberships, and lost none of its members. CO+HOOTS Director of Operations Kelsey Wong said the move was a test for the business.
“It was a test to see, is it about the space? Is it just a place to work? Or is it about more?” Wong said. “Because if it’s just a place to work, everyone could have stayed there. That offer was on the table.”
On CO+HOOTS’ move-out day from Bayless, a group of over 30 clients and community members volunteered to move everything from the original location to monOrchid.
CO+HOOTS is set to become a major business along Washington Street and the nascent Washington Row organization, said Mayor Stanton’s senior policy adviser Brendan Mahoney. He added that CO+HOOTS helped generate the idea of Washington Row.
CO+HOOTS founder Jenny Poon said she has been scouting for a new permanent downtown location for about a year, but her business had to leave Bayless in August on short notice by the landlord, Joseph Lewis.
“Our lease was up December of last year,” Poon said. “We had agreed on lease terms in November. So we just did month-to-month until we could find something else. We didn’t actually get kicked out until August of this year. We tried to buy more time but (Lewis) wasn’t interested in working with us anymore, so we had to make a decision on a space.”
Lewis declined to comment on the details of what led CO+HOOTS to leave, calling it a “landlord-tenant issue.”
Lewis is currently seeking out a new coworking venture for the Bayless Building. A sign posted on the building said “coworking space available” with contact information.
“I’m just looking for the right operator,” Lewis said. “There’s a great deal of interest. It’s just hard to make it work as a landlord.”
monOrchid owner Wayne Rainey said he is working with CO+HOOTS to possibly establish a permanent satellite location at monOrchid, but intends to market the floor space in another way if these plans fall through.
“What they’re really good at is managing a small number of tenants,” Rainey said. “I’m not a micromanager, and I have my own career. I have to split my duties and it’s a bit much sometimes. Their whole business is managing those other businesses, and if they can figure out how to do a satellite location here, I’ll figure out how to make it work.”
Tony Felice, the owner of a small public relations firm, has been a CO+HOOTS member since its third day in business. He said that there had been tension among Lewis, the CO+HOOTS owners and tenants before the eviction.
“I first heard we were moving when (Lewis) walked through our space, counted the desks and tried to double the rent,” Felice said. “He wasn’t keeping his promises. When we first started CO+HOOTS, he came to us and said, ‘I’m moving you guys over to the other side, and it’s taking place this weekend, and you have no choice.’ That was kind of disruptive and set the tone for some challenges we had over there.”
Felice said that while the monOrchid space was more cramped, he has still enjoyed working there.
“To move to any temporary space is an imposition, but we love Wayne. He’s been so accommodating for us,” Felice said. “He’s really worked hard to, from my perspective, make sure that we’re happy and content.”
Curtis Miller, a web developer and founder of Flatterline, has dropped into CO+HOOTS since its beginning but has only recently moved up to a nest membership, their highest level of membership. Miller said he looks forward to the new location on Washington Row and thinks that it will have more features than Bayless.
“They just had to use the space as it was (at Bayless). They didn’t really build out or make any changes to it. The landlord didn’t really want to do that,” Miller said. “At the new space, they’ve taken the couple years of coworking that they’ve done now and input from their members, and designed the space in such a way that it caters to what coworkers need.”
CO+HOOTS will also throw a grand-opening party, distinct from their actual move-in day, on Dec. 7, the last First Friday of the year.
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