York Butter Factory’s big expansion into Sydney is just the beginning of ambitious plans to build a series of innovation precincts across the country in partnership with property giant Mirvac, according to co-founder Stuart Richardson.
The Melbourne coworking space and tech accelerator has finally confirmed it will expand into Australian Technology Park in Sydney in conjunction with Mirvac.
Called ‘Hoist’, the site is an important step in YBF’s lofty roadmap of ambition over the coming years, Mr Richardson said.
“It’s a milestone amongst many in terms of us moving forward. Our vision is quite large, and has very much evolved well beyond the constraints of a traditional real estate or co-working business,” Mr Richardson told InnovationAus.com.
“We’re now very much focused on creating these highly effective innovation precincts.”
As reported by InnovationAus.com in April, York Butter Factory will expand into Sydney by opening a tech hub at the Australian Technology Park in August.
The company will initially by taking about 1000 square metres of space at the old Locomotive Workshops to accommodate 50 seats for startups and corporates. But this space will dramatically increase as the $1 billion redevelopment of the ATP into major business and tech hub continues over the next three years.
The Hoist in Sydney will bring together corporates, startups, incubators and accelerators under the one roof, Mr Richardson said.
“There’s 28,000 square metres under the one roof, with a pre-existing heritage for creating successful tech businesses, and there’s a real opportunity to increase the density and diversity of entrepreneurial activity in there,” he said.
It comes just days after the NSW government revealed the details for its $35 million Sydney Startup Hub in the CBD, which will be bringing together three of the largest startup hubs in the country – Tank Stream Labs, Fishburners and Stone & Chalk – across 17,000 square metres.
The Hoist will act as a complementary agency to the Sydney Startup Hub rather than a competitor, Mirvac general manager of workplace experiences Paul Edwards said.
“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,” Mr Edwards said.
Mr Richardson said it’s likely that some of the young tech companies housed in the Sydney Startup Hub will eventually migrate to The Hoist as they grow and develop.
York Butter Factory has also not ruled out working with the NSW Government in some capacity, and taking up space in the new Sydney Startup Hub in the CBD.
“Working with government is an important facet of creating vibrant innovation ecosystems. The initiatives that we’re undertaking as York Butter Factory and The Hoist are absolutely aligned with where we’re going as a country,” Mr Richardson said.
York Butter Factory has a clear entry to the Sydney Startup Hub through an existing partnership with Tank Stream Labs, which will be one of the four key anchor tenants in the new site.
The Australian Technology Park is currently undergoing a $1 billion redevelopment after the state government tendered the project in 2015 and eventually selected a partnership between Mirvac and the Commonwealth Bank, which will act as the anchor tenant at the site.
The selection created much controversy in the tech world, with the government rejecting a competing proposal from startup darling Atlassian.
The Commonwealth Bank will move into a 93,000 square metre development at the site in 2019 and bringing 10,000 employees with it. As part of its deal with government, Mirvac committed to allocating 75,000 sqm of space at ATP to tech-related ventures.
The York Butter Factory announcement is the first detailing how this allocated space will be utilised.
The Hoist will sit alongside deep-tech incubator Cicada Innovations, previously named ATP Innovations, which has been a long-term tenant at the ATP. The site is next to the Data61 headquarters.
The few days had seen nearly 30,000 square metres of space set aside in inner Sydney for startups and tech companies, the sector will finally be allowed to flourish, Mr Richardson said.
“The Sydney Startup Hub is a fantastic initiative by the NSW Government and it’s something that is essential for providing continuity for the startup ecosystem,” he said.
“We’ve been at it for more than seven years and finally we’re now starting to see some quality of flow of startups.”
“There are now credible opportunities for people coming out of university, for the people who may have wanted to start a business but historically may have been a little too risk-adverse.
“This provides continuity for providing startups with real estate in the CBD of Sydney, which is otherwise inaccessible.”
York Butter Factory has already made a point to work with corporates, having the likes of ANZ, QANTAS and Salesforce.
The organisation currently has the 577 square metres space in Melbourne, but the newly announced partnership will likely see this number greatly increase in the coming years.
“We’ve certainly got an expansion which will occur in our Melbourne headquarters. Beyond that we have active discussions, but because of the significance of the scale, size and level of investment, this takes some time,” Mr Richardson said.
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