Located in the Paradise Valley Mall, Elevate coworking is, by far, the most unusual of the locations I have found during my tour of the Phoenix area coworking spaces, to-date.
Owned and operated by Karen Estrin, Elevate is on the larger end of the spectrum with regards to square footage. Karen, herself, is friendly, outgoing, a marketing professional, and a WordPress aficionado. She runs her own marketing business from the space and conducts workshops, meetups, and training classes (which are geared towards small businesses) each week in the common area.
As previously stated, the space is big; the total space, including that occupied by “anchor tenants”, is over 6,000 square feet. The space includes a large conference room that could host as many as 40 people in a classroom-seating style format, a small office that can be used for private meetings, and the actual coworking area. The coworking – as it was set up – could accommodate about a dozen individuals. Elevate is located on the second floor of the mall, above the food court. The space is devoid of natural light as there are no windows. Additionally, the walls, carpets, tile, desks, and furnishings are very worn and dated. The coworking area felt more like a blue collar break room than a work area.
The day I spent working in the space, there were two other individuals who came and went during the day and, aside from our initial greetings, there was no other conversation. In the main conference area, Karen hosted a free business meetup related to her marketing business so although I was largely alone in the co-working area, I did not feel completely cut off from the world.
Elevate is located in the Paradise Valley Mall with access to all of its shops and amenities, so I made it a point to walk the area as I do with all the coworking spaces I visit. Malls are about convenience – many goods and services under one roof – however, I found that during a given working weekday, a mall is kind of a sad place. Aside from those that work there, it’s largely populated by people who don’t have anything else to do. There are a host of dining options in the food court – but it’s a mall food court so it’s predominantly fast food with very few healthy options. Overall, I found the area kind of like being alone in a crowd.
I had done a tour of the space the week beforehand, so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. I knew it would be on the quiet side and I knew the space itself felt a bit weathered and thrown together. I was, however, enticed by the conference room, I thought the mall itself might be convenient, and the location north of Shea would work for me as I am in the North Valley – all the other coworking spaces I have visited so far are south and/or central. Each coworking space is different and unique, so you have to find the one that fills your needs and is the best fit for you.
That being said, I was left with the impression that Elevate Coworking is not so much a coworking space as simply a shared space to get work done. If you are someone who is not familiar with the idea of a co-working space or has not worked out of a coworking space that might not be completely clear. Coworking is about community – it’s about interaction, communication, networking, and collaboration. Once you’ve done it for a while, the less expensive rent almost seems like the cherry on top. Unfortunately, I walked away from Elevate with the impression that it had no visible sense of community, and it seemed the communication and networking that takes place there is agenda driven – in other words, the events are put on to drive business to the event sponsor. I dislike giving such a negative review, but I would be doing a disservice to the reader of these coworking space reviews.
Next up: Gangplank Chandler