The Phoenix Industrial Development Authority (IDA) board of directors met Thursday, Feb. 12 for a public meeting in Phoenix City Hall where it discussed and approved a $75,000 grant for the expansion of local co-working space CO+HOOTS.
The item on the floor for CO+HOOTS was a grant funding request to put toward salaries, the purchase of technology and the expansion into and furnishing of a larger space.
CO+HOOTS, located on Washington and 11th streets, is a company that acts as a launching point for entrepreneurs and businesses. The company provides a space for small businesses to grow and resources for those that collaborate with them.
Some of the resources that CO+HOOTS provides include desk space, Internet hook ups, conference space and professionals such as graphic designers and photographers available to help the companies that hold memberships.
During the meeting, Christa Severns, vice president of the Phoenix IDA Board of Directors, presented the item and asked for the funding on behalf of CO+HOOTS.
Severns said CO+HOOTS was requesting $75,000 for approval from the IDA for support.
“This is part of our economic development, this is bringing creative talent to our root core,” Severns said. “This is something the city supports and wants to see grow, the city doesn’t have the money to help them out in that way.”
Severns added that the IDA has the money for this project and supports the grant for CO+HOOTS.
“It is the type of activity we have strived to have in Phoenix,” Severns said. “We want to make sure it [the money] gets back into the community.”
Charlene Tarver, a director on the board, was present for the meeting via conference call and also expressed her support for CO+HOOTS.
“As a small business owner, I can certainly say that I appreciate the value of having an office space,” Tarver said. “I think it’s a phenomenal concept. I’ve been over to this facility and I wholeheartedly endorse supporting it.”
After members of the board expressed their confusion over whether these funds were being used to fund for profit or non-profit work, board President Tommy Espinoza added a caveat to the approval of the grant.
“I don’t have any problems with it, for or not,” Espinoza said, “But I really do want to know where our dollars are going to.”
Espinoza said the specifics of how the money was being spent would need to be determined once approved. He said that the number of companies that utilize CO+HOOTS’ services and how many Phoenix residents are being helped by this model would need to be tracked.
At the end of the CO+HOOTS grant discussion, the board approved the $75,000 allocation.
No CO+HOOTS representatives were present at the meeting, but the company’s website shows plans to begin construction on their new office soon.
Clarification: Feb. 24, 2015: This article has been clarified to remove the exact address of a potential CO+HOOTs expansion location.
Contact the reporter at Hope.Flores@asu.edu.