Connect at Connect Coworking on Free Fridays


connect-masthead-4Located in the newly renovated Rialto Building in downtown Tucson is a “collaborative coworking” space for those who need an office and don’t have one.

I dropped by last week on their “Free Fridays” where anyone can stop by to use their first floor workspace, with internet access, a printer/Xerox machine and use of lockers, fridge/microwave and some extras (i.e. bottled water, coffee, information on their talks, electric outlet for your charge up).   The work space is ultra modern, with 22 chairs with wooden work tables in the large community room on the first floor, with a large window view out to 33 S. 5th Avenue. There’s also a small lounge area with green, swivel chairs and an orange hassock- table.

One of my friends invited me to attend, as she is a member. What’s a member? I inquired and here’s the levels on their website: Hopper for $150; Flock for $400 and Ice Box for $600/month.  You get more for each level but the basic Hopper gives you access to work during their business hours (M to F, 8 to 5 p.m), plus your business listing on their website, Free Fridays saves you the $25, $15 student fee per day. The higher membership levels get access to the 2nd floor conference rooms, balcony ping pong tables, full kitchen.

Apparently this coworking space started up in January, 2014 (over a year & half now) and has many paid members, some of whom are pictured on the first bulletin board as you walk in from S. 5th Avenue, just south of E. Congress St. If you’re wondering what else is in that Rialto Building, the 3 restaurants in front on Congress St. are Proper, Diablo Burger, and R Bar (SE Corner of 5th Avenue and Congress St.)

My friend who is a member is Tucson freelance photographer/copywriter Martha Retallick, whose website is: She was busily working when I dropped by last Friday, along with about 4  or 5 other people, mostly on Apple laptops.

She told me she bikes there and parks in their bike parking area in the back. But Connect does not provide any parking for automobiles, so you need to park in the nearby garages and/or on the street with the parking meters. Bathrooms are down the hall of the building, and I recognized them from the time that Rialto Building was the former home of Science Downtown, with such exhibits as the Titanic, Egyptian artifacts, and Science in the City.

Check this collaborative business venture out on their website, where I noticed they are offering a Free Week as well, besides the Free Fridays. They also offer workshops for small fees such as on Social Media tips,  and another creative one with this title: “The Essence of Love, Sex, Money  and Power: A personal and global perspective on creating heart-centered relationships.”

Might be a good fit for independent contractors like me, who work  in isolation at home (and may not want to). And also for people who don’t want to work in a noisy coffee shop, lounge or public library.  And it will be useful for people who are between jobs, or work part time.

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Carolyn Classen
Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, (since Jan. 2013).