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Auckland a hotspot for start-ups as 'tech sector is booming'

New research has highlighted the evolution of Auckland’s innovation spaces and how they’re changing the shape of commercial real estate.

The report titled ‘Sustaining momentum: The role of property in the tech hub puzzle’ from real estate firm JLL takes a look at start-up companies and what they require once they outgrow co-working environments.

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.

According to JLL, Auckland’s tech sector is booming with a total of nearly 26% growth in the city. In Wynyard Quarter, the fast rise of the GridAKL innovation precinct has set the benchmark but there are also exciting new spaces emerging at Eden Terrace and Smales Farm. 

Nick Hargreaves, managing director of JLL, 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.

For Auckland Mayor Len Brown, the JLL report is a welcome industry update. He says 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 behind the facilitation for the strategic development of GridAKL on behalf of Auckland Council, and welcomes the emergence of other innovation localities across Auckland.

Brett O’Riley, chief executive at ATEED, 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. 

“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,” he adds.

“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.”