New to the valley, opening in January of this year the Desk Hub seems to be doing everything right. During Phoenix start-up week they hosted speakers and workshops and have provided the venue for numerous lunch and learns sponsored by the Arizona Technology Council. Actions speak louder than words and Desk Hub’s actions indicate they understand co-working is about community and networking.
The space is huge – at 17,000 square feet it is more than twice the size of the next largest co-work. Speaking with “community curator” Gabe Gasca I learned that Desk Hub has a capacity of around 100 seats – that’s a small village. The desks, seats and monitors – all the furnishings in fact appear like new and the work areas are spacious and comfortable. Each desk comes with two monitors and a file cabinet. I liked that the monitors are supplied – one less thing for me to do. Located on the fourth floor of a six story office building the space has a modern theme of predominately black and white. It does not however, come off as feeling sterile. As you exit the elevator there is a small reception area. Past the reception there are two co-working areas to the left and right with Gasca’s office immediately in front of you and centrally located. The space is very open and well lit with large expansive windows that provide ample natural light and views of Camelback mountain. To further enjoy the views and decompress a bit the space features two terraces with comfortable furnishings to relax in. The kitchen area is large and well equipped, stocked with free snacks, and has a refrigerator a caterer would be proud to own. There are four conference rooms of various sizes that can be reserved as well as a large room that can be used for lectures. In addition to the individual areas in the co-working space, there are about twenty private offices that can be rented out. Most of the offices accommodate up to three people comfortably but there are also larger spaces available, including space for a large anchor tenant that has yet to be filled. The area I worked from during my trial of the space was largely empty. The area on the opposite side however has been filled. Speaking with Gasca he informed me approximately one third of the available seats have been rented in the short time they have been opened. Overall extremely high marks for the space – comfortable, plenty of room to spread out, well lit, and good energy.
Just North of downtown Scottsdale, located on the corner of Chaparral and Scottsdale road there are many amenities a short ride away but very little that is within walking distance. There is a deli on site but in general options for food within walking distance are limited. If you’re willing to walk half a mile South your options improve significantly and you have literally dozens of restaurants and shops including those located at the Fashion Square Mall and the Scottsdale waterfront. A short car ride and your options multiply exponentially to include downtown Scottsdale. Overall the area is fantastically convenient however immediate walk-ability is somewhat constrained.
Once again I find myself with a tough space to come up with negatives for. My initial concerns were that a space this large would have a difficult time fostering a cohesive sense of community. These concerns seem unfounded. While I only worked one day from Desk Hub, at every turn I encountered efforts to build community. This includes hosting startup week and the Technology Council, encouraging meetups and workshops, Gasca’s accessibility, and the many friendly people that work from the space. Since I make this section a requirement for each favorable review, I will identify walk-ability and a lack of the drop-in style membership the other co-works in the valley offer. That said, once you view the layout it makes sense not to offer this tier of membership – it would no doubt impact the open and spacious feel Desk Hub provides it’s members.
I came away from my experience a fan of Desk Hub. The space seems to hold so much potential and they appear to be making all the right moves. At $400 it’s not cheap but it’s a great value for what you get. If you’re in the market for a full time space I recommend coming down to the Desk Hub for a trial – it will be time well spent.
Shorty after writing this article, I switched from CoHoots and joined the Desk Hub. I’ve been there almost five months and am extremely happy with the decision – so much so that I’ve rented my home in the North Valley and moved down to the Scottsdale Waterfront to eliminate the commute. My ability to network and my contacts have increased exponentially and the membership has had a direct positive impact on my business – development of mobile and web based software. Desk Hub continues to thrive and flourish with a steady stream of startup and entrepreneurial focused events and gatherings. The Desk Hub has expanded to other cities and currently has coworks in San Diego, Portland, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, and of course the original location in Scottsdale. The Scottsdale location is nearing capacity and I can foresee a wait list forming within the next six months – I believe that I was lucky to get in on “the ground floor” with the space. “Desk Hub” is almost a misnomer at this point – I would say it is the hub of startup and entrepreneurship in the valley of the sun.
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