Melbourne-based co-working space York Butter Factory has confirmed it has forged a partnership with property firm Mirvac to establish an innovation hub at the $1 billion Australian Technology Park (ATP) in Sydney.
But the Sydney site is only the first part of what will be a national partnership between York Butter Factory and Mirvac, with multiple hubs planned across the nation as part of the deal, reports of which emerged back in April.
The news also comes less than a week after the New South Wales government announced a $35 million 11-storey startup hub to be located in Sydney’s CBD.
Officially named Hoist, the precinct is designed to compliment the government’s CBD hub and create a “wider Sydney startup cluster” according to Paul Edwards, general manager of workplace experiences at Mirvac.
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“We’re strongly aligned with the NSW government’s plan for a complementary portfolio of innovation precincts, extending the support to scale ups and growing the startup cluster beyond Sydney’s CBD,” Edwards said in a statement.
Stuart Richardson, co-founder of York Butter Factory, says the partnership will be rolled out nationally and become part of the broader York Butter Factory ecosystem.
“Our area of focus is really about building innovation precincts on a national basis — we are fortunate enough that we can start with the ATP,” Richardson tells StartupSmart.
The plan for the hub comes two years after Mirvac won the bid to develop the ATP site after it won a fierce bidding war with Atlassian, which the Australian tech giant said at the time was a “massive missed opportunity” for the sector.
Richardson believes the partnership with Mirvac will breathe life into the existing heritage-listed Locomotive Workshops space at ATP, making it an “ideal anchor point” for the innovation precinct.
Existing tenants include Cicada and Data 61, and the precinct’s proximity to the University of Technology Sydney offers a “strong opportunity to connect the dots between all stakeholders,” according to Richardson.
“The unique environment and range of stakeholders present at ATP make it the perfect location for a sustainable entrepreneurial precinct,” he says.
Edwards said the 75,000 square metre hub will “help to cement the site as an advanced innovation district as well as a thriving community precinct,” which “moves away from the homogenous use of a space” and instead mixes startups, entrepreneurs, corporates and technology in a hybrid ecosystem that allows collaboration and creative collisions.
Set to open in August 2017, the ATP precinct will see startups and corporates working side by side, with a collaborative workspace providing a mixture of concentrated co-working desks, team breakout spaces, and a workshop and events space. The Commonwealth Bank will be the anchor tenant for the site, moving 10,000 employees to the new location from 2019.
York Butter Factory and Mirvac are now “actively looking at secondary sites on the east coast” as well as honing in on opportunities on the west coast, with their sites set on “iconic destinations” and “non-traditional spaces” to break out of the office-space mould and create unique and engaging spaces, says Richardson.
For Richardson, this national push for innovation hubs is about fostering a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem to bolster Australia’s job security and economy in the rapidly changing future of work.
“In five years time approximately half of the jobs that exist today wont exist any more — this is about how we create the new mechanisms for the new economy, how we commercialise disruptive technologies into these new business models,” he says.