Mesa wants to create an innovation district in a revitalized downtown. What does that mean?
A $59 million mixed-use development planned for downtown Mesa has its first tenant — and you could say they’re in cahoots with each other. Er, Co+Hoots, we mean.
Co+Hoots, a Phoenix-based co-working space, will be the anchor tenant in a massive development called the Grid, which will include commercial, retail and office spaces. The agreement stipulates that Co+Hoots must provide 15 scholarships a year to Mesa students for coding, programming or business-technology classes.
“I would love in 10 years for Mesa to say Co+Hoots is an anchor point and has helped encourage a lot of the growth there,” Co+Hoots founder Jenny Poon told The Arizona Republic. “That we’ve been able to bring entrepreneurship to a more visible light.”
The co-working space expects to open in fall 2019.
Mesa Mayor John Giles announced the lease agreement during his annual State of the City address on Feb. 6. Giles also addressed an upcoming program to prepare children for kindergarten, recent park renovations and economic development.
About the Grid
The Grid will go on three acres of city-owned land at Main and Pomeroy streets, just west of Mesa Drive, that is leased by 3W Management.
Plans call for 180,000 square feet of apartment space, 24,200 square feet of three-story row homes and 18,000 square feet of commercial, retail, office and restaurant space. Tony Wall, president of 3W Management, would not reveal what restaurants the company is in talks with to bring to the Grid.
A parking garage currently sits on the land, but brings little revenue — about $7,000 a year — to Mesa. The garage will be improved as part of the project.
The first year’s rent will be $12,000 while the development is under construction. Rent will go up in subsequent years, but will be offset by public improvement credits, meaning 3W has agreed to build infrastructure around the area, including improvements to a nearby park.
“What we’ve done is create a new neighborhood in downtown Mesa in an area that has not seen new housing in over 30 years,” Wall said.
The development would hopefully increase tax revenue to the city, according to the agreement the Mesa City Council approved in November. It does not state how much revenue is expected.
What exactly is Co+Hoots?
Co+Hoots is a co-working space in midtown Phoenix. Poon said the expansion to Mesa happened after Mesa Councilman Jeremy Whittaker visited the Phoenix location and later representatives from 3W Management visited it.
With city leaders pushing to create an innovation district, Poon said, Mesa could be the next great spot to foster the kind of entrepreneurial community Co+Hoots has facilitated in Phoenix.
“We’ve spent a lot of time there now; there’s a lot of groups fighting for a much stronger ecosystem there,” she said. “They’ve got great momentum going.”
The Mesa location will take up the second floor of the Grid, serving as the development’s anchor tenant.
To Giles, Co+Hoots adds an “intangible aspect” to downtown Mesa.
“When you bring a business like Co+Hoots that has a really high-energy young business people downtown, that is really going to have a ripple effect,” he said.
Partnership with Benedictine University
The Grid will be right next to Benedictine University on Mesa’s Main Street. Co+Hoots has already agreed to partner with the university, Poon said. The organization will offer mentorship and internship opportunities for existing students. Benedictine is a small private, Catholic university.
Some students may also be able to work from Co+Hoots, which will bring them closer to existing businesses and entrepreneurs.
“We’re just really excited to amplify that message and become a hub and build a hub there in Mesa,” Poon said.
The agreement between the two would also create a “pipeline” of students to Benedictine, according to Poon. The Co+Hoots Foundation works to expose students who are not typically given entrepreneurial opportunities to startup environments.
Giles said Benedict’s location near the Grid will “help BenU grow.”
The ‘next Mesa’?
The development could be part of a groundswell of changes set to transform downtown Mesa, including a planned 15-story apartment and hotel building from Habitat Metro.
Giles said he is focused on Mesa’s future, a version of the city he’s calling “next Mesa.”
“I’m anxious for us not only to get bigger as a community but for us to get better about looking at our weaknesses and attacking those and building on the strengths that we have,” he said.
Read or Share this story: http://azc.cc/2nINiby