Trump chooses coworking space for Tampa campaign HQ

A little proactive work by the founder of CoWork Tampa has landed him a big national tenant: Donald Trump.

Chris Arnoldi, founder of the coworking space at the historic Garcia & Vega cigar factory at 3104 N. Armenia Ave., said members of Trump’s Florida campaign team will start setting up this weekend.

The Trump supporter said Hillary Clinton’s campaign had made some initial inquiries but didn’t lease space, and that gave him the idea to reach out to Trump. Arnoldi said he then received a call from a Trump advisor, Mike Bowen and the following day, members of Trump’s Florida and Hillsborough County campaign teams visited CoWorkTampa to consider it as a potential operations center.

“After a brief tour, they decided it was the perfect location for the campaign’s ground game,” Arnoldi told the TBBJ.
The Trump campaign is taking an 8×8 space, the smallest of three sizes available at the facility. Two people will staff that space and 20 to 25 people will operate a phone bank in the facility’s event space, Arnoldi said. In addition to local campaign administration, the Trump campaign will lead neighborhood walks from the location, and host promotional activities at CoWork, he said.
A request to Trump’s national campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks seeking further confirmation is pending return.
CoWorkTampa has political experience. It was utilized in last year’s Tampa City Council race, and Guido Maniscalco hosted his watch party there, Arnoldi said.
CoWork Tampa began in 2012 and operates in 10,000 square feet. It has a 100 private office tenants and CoWork Tampa tenants. Arnold is also a principal with the social media advertising agency

Of the 18 offices at the facility, all but three are occupied.


CoWork Tampa to be Trump Tampa HQ

Most political campaigns seek out small vacant storefronts or strip malls to temporarily set up shop locally.

Usually, these are not-so-aesthetically pleasing (or particularly desirable) setups with dead wires coming out of the floors, cheap office furniture set up in a not-so-feng shui manner and blank walls that seem to hum in the glow of fluorescent lighting.

After all, they won’t be there very long, so why get hung up on aesthetics?

Not so for the Tampa leg of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, though.

That campaign, which should be kicking into gear after Super Tuesday and ahead of the March 15 Florida primary, has instead chosen to go the hip route: it’s rented space at CoWork Tampa, a locally owned spot where professionals (typically, ones who work remotely) can rent workspace rather than contend with noise and shoddy wifi at a nearby coffee shop.

It’s not the first time CoWork Tampa has been the site of political events, at least on the local level. Tampa City Councilman Guido Maniscalco held multiple events there during his run and to celebrate his victory.

Politics aside, having Trump’s campaign staff working the phones and basing their ground game out of the West Tampa site is a big deal for Chris Arnoldi, co-owner of the space, given the attention it brings the site.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “I’d probably have to pay thousands of dollars to get this kind of press.”

So, how did he land that deal?

Basically, someone he works with is a Trump supporter. Said supporter reached out to local campaign officials.

“And that got pushed up all the way to one of his senior advisors,” Arnoldi said.

Since they announced the Trump campaign would be setting up shop there, they’ve been catching grief on social media from Tump’s critics. After all, a place like CoWork seems to be tailored toward Millenials — not exactly a popular demographic for Trump (we admit we may have made ajoke or two about the larger-than-life candidate here and there as well).

Some have gone so far as to say they’ll never use the space again.

Arnoldi said he hopes people see the space, which has also hosted staff from the likes of Nike, Tesla, Solar City, Lyft, Special Olympics, American Society for Suicide Prevention, as politically neutral.

“In the past our space has shown support for both Democrats and Republicans,” he said.


CoWorkTampa preps for expansion at cigar factory

Coworking facility CoWorkTampa is about to expand its 10,000-square-foot converted space at a cigar factory in Tampa.

Founder Chris Arnoldi plans to renovate a 4,500-square-foot area on the second floor beginning in May, with a goal to complete construction in two months.
Arnoldi opened CoWorkTampa in 2012 to help foot office costs for his Internet marketing company Uhsome, which is based in the same location.
He invested roughly $100,000 in the space.Read More >