Research highlights Auckland’s thriving innovation ecosystem

A new whitepaper from global real estate firm JLL shows how the evolution of Auckland’s innovation spaces is changing the shape of commercial real estate.

The report, entitled ‘Sustaining momentum: The role of property in the tech hub puzzle’, considers what start-up companies require once they outgrow co-working environments and need to find their own space. It identifies Albany, Takapuna, the CBD fringe, Onehunga, Glen Innes and Manukau as locations that have the right characteristics to appeal to new tech companies.

Auckland’s tech sector is booming, with nearly 26% growth in GDP in the past five years, and innovation hubs have emerged across the city including significant concentrations of activity in the CBD, Parnell and across the North Shore.  

In the Wynyard Quarter, the rapid emergence of the GridAKL innovation precinct has set the benchmark but exciting new spaces are also emerging at Eden Terrace and Smales Farm.  

JLL Managing Director Nick Hargreaves says the ongoing redevelopment of GridAKL and Auckland’s dynamic tech sector, along with projects like the City Rail Link, are driving significant demand for commercial real estate here and putting Auckland on the global map.

“The evolution of innovation precincts, tech hubs and clusters is potentially the most significant change to real estate markets post the Global Financial Crisis, and they are likely to drive a significant share of new tenant demand as we head into the next property cycle and beyond,” he says.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown welcomes the JLL report, saying GridAKL is an essential element in Auckland’s drive to become an innovation hub of the Asia-Pacific and move up the global ‘liveable city’ rankings.

“Auckland’s innovation ecosystem has developed rapidly in recent years with GridAKL showcasing the innovation which is part of the region’s DNA, and is essential in enabling us to compete globally for investment and talent,” he says.

ATEED is responsible for facilitating the strategic development of GridAKL on behalf of Auckland Council, and welcomes the emergence of other innovation localities across Auckland 

ATEED Chief Executive Brett O’Riley says GridAKL is expanding with two Precinct Properties buildings coming online; one new building (12 Madden Street) under construction, and an existing building (Mason Brothers) being refurbished. 

Both buildings will house a mixture of start-ups, small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and corporates, and are scheduled to open in April and July 2017 respectively. 

The buildings will be part of GridAKL alongside the existing Lysaght Building which opened in December 2015 with ATEED taking the head lease at 12 Madden Street, and leasing space in Mason Brothers.

“GridAKL is about creating a community, place and services that businesses can tap into so that they can grow faster, employ more people and further stimulate Auckland’s economic growth,” says O’Riley.

“The globally unique augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) facility launched in Eden Terrace earlier this month is another example of the growth that we are seeing in technology and innovation in Auckland.

“This has been assisted by the international relationships forged during the Tripartite Economic Summit Auckland 2016 and Techweek AKL 2016 which took place in May. ATEED is currently pursuing a number of international opportunities in this space."

Photo: The Mason Brothers building.