SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The renaissance of historic downtown Mesa takes another step forward as real estate investment firm Caliber, the City of Mesa and the new Arizona State University campus welcome coworking innovator Launch Pad to 114 W. Main Street, at the heart of all the action.
The 20,000-square-foot space exhibits all the hallmarks of today’s character-rich, tech savvy coworking communities. Housed in the 1949 J.J. Newberry Department Store at the heart of the action in downtown Mesa, this qualified opportunity zone project offers light rail access and close proximity to the new ASU campus. The building contains plenty of period details like 18-foot ceilings on the first floor, 10-foot basement ceilings, wrought iron railings, polished concrete floors and a fully operational retro-style freight elevator. Long-time residents will remember the gleaming soda fountain and lunch counter, which will be replaced with casual meeting spaces, a coffee bar and more than 67 individual offices of varying sizes. Launch Pad expects to occupy the space by the end of 2021.
Launch Pad Mesa rendering, courtesy of Gensler
Launch Pad Mesa: Creating jobs and business opportunities
“Early on during this journey, especially with the arrival of light rail, we saw the potential in historic downtown Mesa as an unexpectedly cool place to work and play and made the investment,” says Caliber CEO Chris Loeffler. “It has been an amazing public-private partnership with the city, and with the commitment from Launch Pad, we are now seeing the realization of that early potential, creating a vibrant space for entrepreneurs and creators to collaborate and thrive.”
“The Launch Pad model is pretty special,” Loeffler continues. “The company fosters community through networking, shared best practices and transformative conversations, all of which breed success, develop durable agents of change and support job creation. We are fortunate to have them in Mesa and to be a lead investor in their growing platform. We expect to leverage the success of this first location and grow the company throughout opportunity zone locations in the greater Southwest.”
A national leader in the coworking industry, New Orleans-based Launch Pad is known for beautiful workspaces designed to encourage community for entrepreneurs, creative professionals, and remote workers. Since its founding in 2009, the company and its members have generated more than 9,000 jobs and raised more than $230 million in new capital, focusing on sites in culturally significant buildings in emerging “quality of life” markets like Stockton, Calif.; Newark, N.J.; Nashville and Memphis, Tenn.
“Coworking has become a critical component of entrepreneurial ecosystems in mid-sized markets across the country,” says Anne Driscoll, Launch Pad co-founder and CEO. “In a post-COVID world, remote work will become the norm, creating a real need for community focused coworking spaces.”
Downtown Mesa 2.0
The new Launch Pad Mesa facility expects to play a key role in supporting graduates of ASU at Mesa City Center, which serves as an incubator for tech students.
“These young entrepreneurs will breathe new life into the community, creating more businesses and jobs that will require a space to collaborate and explore ideas,” says Caliber president Jennifer Schrader. “People will gather on Main Street like they did 50 years ago, only instead of shopping and having lunch they will be exchanging ideas, creating opportunities and building the innovative companies of the future.”
Mesa Mayor John Giles echoed his enthusiasm for the project. “Launch Pad is an excellent addition to our growing downtown innovation district,” he says. “I am proud they have chosen Mesa for their sixth location and look forward to their contribution to our entrepreneurial community.”
In addition to 114 W. Main Street, Caliber purchased nine other historic Main Street buildings for approximately $15 million during the past two years. Caliber’s acquisitions are part of the City of Mesa’s multi-year redevelopment vision that includes the award-winning Mesa Arts Center; an eclectic mix of new and period multi-use properties like restaurants and nightlife, commercial office, art and fitness studios, and residential multi-family; the creation of Arizona State University’s newest campus, ASU @ Mesa City Center; light rail connectivity with neighboring Tempe and ASU’s main campus, Sky Harbor International Airport and Central Phoenix; and more—all in a safe and comfortable environment.
The good work being done by Caliber also has caught the eye of The White House, as the Trump Administration has sent representatives on two separate occasions to survey company activities.
Ashley Bell of the Small Business Administration and special advisor to President Donald Trump earlier this year toured Caliber’s downtown Mesa holdings, while last summer Scott Turner, the Executive Director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, visited the company’s redeveloped Crowne Plaza Hotel and took a preview of the upcoming 95-room Avid Hotel, both near Sky Harbor Airport, as well as visiting downtown Mesa.
“It makes all the difference to visit firsthand, to see how private investment is creating public good, and turning older neighborhoods with style and character into something new and special,” Loeffler says.“
Opportunity zones have spurred a tremendous amount of economic development throughout Arizona,” says Sen. Martha McSally. “Arizona is ground zero for innovation in our country, and the opening of Launch Pad is just another example of our state’s entrepreneurial spirit. I look forward to seeing the positive impact this project has on the Mesa community.”