Phase I Of Connect Coworking Reinvents Downtown’s Workspace

May 23, 2014

It's hard to beat the balcony view from the upper floor of the historic Rialto Building.

It’s hard to beat the balcony view from the upper floor of the historic Rialto Building.

by James J. Jefferies

As recent college graduates, the enterprise-minded, or those who are finding themselves exploring the second career front of their lives can tell you, it is a brand new world on the working front. Slowly but surely, we are seeing the collapse of the old corporate model, biting the dust as the dinosaurs did, an apocalypse set in motion by the meteoric impact of the location-free workspace of the 21st century.

“We’re approaching a time where physical locations just don’t matter,” said Maher Pedersoli, a member of Connect Coworking and founder of Dual-Swipe, a mobile technology company working on a digital wallet app that could merge all of your favorite loyalty programs with popular retailers.

Pedersoli spent the last 16 years working on behalf of some pretty heavy tech-hitters such as IBM and Motorola, and has seen this kind of sea change first-hand. “We’re all connected by the technology we use, and not so much whom we work for anymore.”

Also difficult to argue against the charms of a wall of typewriters that greets visitors to Connect Coworking.

Also difficult to argue against the retro charm of the wall of typewriters that greets visitors to Connect Coworking.

Sitting in the confines of a centralized cubicle occupying an expensive piece of real estate, taking orders from the top-down, and respecting a rigid social hierarchy is giving way to brand-new collaborative structures that respect community, offer free and honest feedback, and are capable of generating exciting new ideas hatched between individuals from a variety of backgrounds and an extensive set of experiences.

At the crossroads of this new frontier lies Connect Coworking. As previously discussed in this very forum, it is an ambitious venture, bringing along a cadre of happily-motivated independent professionals and remote workers of every stripe. At the moment, Connect’s Phase I opening at 33 S. Fifth Street is inhabited at a rate of 77%.

It is sure to be filled out, with the second phase slated for mid-June, and gives off the exact air of the kind of thing someone will be kicking themselves down the road for not having gotten in while the getting was good. Membership commitments are still discounted, but are sure to go up, especially once Phase II opens.

Work hard, play harder, work hardest. Ping-pong or foosball, whatever puts the buzz in your lightbulb.

Work hard, play harder, work hardest. Ping-pong or foosball, whatever puts the buzz in your lightbulb, they’ve got it.

“Already, the level of collaboration between members is excellent,” said Stephanie Bermudez, Community Director for Connect Coworking. “There’s members from all kinds of different backgrounds, and the sense of community is really growing within the space.” A look around the upper floor at 5th and Congress would quickly tell you why, as it’s hard to argue with the excellence of the spacious layout, with roomy desks, first-rate Internet connection (wireless or wired, your choice) along with a terrific kitchen sporting free coffee and beer on tap.

There’s also foosball and ping-pong tables as well when a perplexing problem gets to be too much and a competitive recreational burst of inspiration proves necessary, or daybeds and recliners on the patio if you just need a quick catnap. In short, it would seem to be an ideal place for a self-motivated venture dreamer, a remote worker, or a person in the midst of assembling that second career move. Connect has already seen an extraordinary variety of individuals making that commitment, all bringing an array of talents and experiences you simply couldn’t find under another roof. It’s an enterprise very much in step with the new economic direction of a revitalized 21st-century Downtown Tucson. Find more about Connect Coworking at their homepage here.

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