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AZ Tech Beat | March 30, 2017

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Art meets co-working at The Department

Art meets co-working at The Department
Tishin Donkersley

As the elevator doors opened on the 6th floor at 1 North 1st street, I felt that I’d walked into a super-sized studio apartment with a modern flare that housed buzzing startups on the perimeter and beautifully designed furniture in the center.

The building was first used by the Korrick department store between 1914-1966, and has now been renovated to become a new collaborative workspace The Department in downtown Phoenix.

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This co-working space is yet another example of the bubbling startup and entrepreneurial spirit found in downtown Phoenix.

City of Phoenix Vice Mayor Daniel Valenzuela said, “The Phoenix economy is going to continue to be driven, more than anything, by entrepreneurs, and we want more in downtown phoenix.”

The space is a 16,000 square feet of newly renovated space, with private offices, conference rooms, lounge areas, flex work stations, and more.

Private investment firm Marketplace One (M1) purchased the building after they realized the 7th floor wasn’t enough space for their headquarters and began a redesign and renovation to expand the ecosystem of entrepreneurs and businesses.

Kyle Frazey, Marketplace One managing director, The Department said, “We’re really excited about the need for it and entrepreneurs want other people working along side of them instead of in their own silos. The relationships are important [as well as] the business activity that goes from there.”

While most starving startups might look to IKEA for their desks, The Department hired local artist, designer and farmer Matthew Moore of Urban Plough Arts who designed and handmade all the wood pieces in the space, including the conference tables, standing desks and work stations.

“I’ve been in the art world for a long time, and we usually live in a white walled environment,” Moore said. “To be able to come in and create something for a space that is used day-to-day [and] see people enjoy it is a magical experience.”

The space is already filled with companies such as Brushfire, Virtuous Software, Ironwood Venture, Bezi and Apex Fun Run.

“Quickly and collaboratively we are becoming the most welcoming and generous community for entrepreneurs, and it’s showing,” Valenzuela said.

Read the co-working guide to Arizona at AZ Tech Beat.

Graphics also provided by The Department