City of Sydney seeks operator for Circular Quay ‘innovation space’

180 George Street to include three floors dedicated to startups

Credit: ID 113945598 © Bjorn Hovdal

The City of Sydney is seeking an operator for a planned ‘innovation space’ for startups that will be located in the under-construction skyscraper at 180 George Street in Circular Quay.

The building is expected to be completed in mid-2022.

“The City will sub-lease the BIS [business innovation space] to a suitable Operator who will be responsible for the running of the BIS and associated programs supporting tech startups, under a co-working model, where affordable desk space and office space is sub-let to ‘residents’ - startup owners and staff - that operate within the BIS,” an  expressions of interest document released by the City states.

The BIS is expected to comprise around 3,801m2 of net lettable area spread across the first three floors above ground level.

“Technology entrepreneurs tell us that the lack of affordable office space in the city is one of the biggest challenges they face,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said in a statement.

“It is essential that Sydney maintains its status as Australia’s leading knowledge based economy and global city, and we can only do that by fostering and supporting a culture of innovation.

“We’re delighted to be able to offer our startup ecosystem a place in the heart of the city with our new affordable workspace, which will ultimately create more jobs, boost Sydney’s economy, strengthen global connections and make the city a more desirable place to live, work and visit.”

The City said it would consider requests for annual rental subsidies in order to provide affordable space and support for startups (the annual market rental value of the three floors is expected to be between $3.2 million and $4.6 million). The lease will be for five years, with a potential five-year extension on offer.

The BIS is expected to be a “future-focused innovation hub that supports and enables Australian tech startups to expand into global markets, with a focus on Asia,” the EOI document states.

“It is expected the BIS will play an important role as a commercial hub for tech startups that are in the growth and scale up stage and are Australian IP based.”

“The community of startups that works in the subsidised Business Innovation Space will be supported to grow their businesses, network, gain expertise about international markets, connect with global networks, and launch into new markets through a curated program provided by the Business Innovation Space,” the document says. 

The deadline for expressions of interest is 14 November 2019.

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