Sky-high opportunity for startups

| October 17, 2019

Businesses and tech startups can rise to the next level with the City of Sydney seeking expressions of interest for an operator to lease an affordable innovation space in Sydney’s soon-to-be tallest commercial skyscraper.

The 53-storey tower at 180 George Street is under construction and will be Sydney’s tallest office building when it is completed mid-2022.

Located within Lendlease’s broader precinct between George and Pitt Streets, the new precinct is a joint venture between Lendlease, China’s Ping An Real Estate and Japan’s Mitsubishi Estate Asia.

The City and Lendlease are working together to create new community infrastructure in the 180 George Street precinct including the business innovation space, a public plaza, retail laneways, bicycle hub, public art and a new hospitality venue on the site of the former Jacksons on George.

Applications are being sought from organisations to act as operator of a new City of Sydney business innovation space that will operate over three floors of the tower. The lease of the affordable space will run for five years, with a possibility of a further five-year extension.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the availability of affordable office space in the city is critical to the ability of startups to grow.

“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.

“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.”

Applications must include a proposed operating model, program and outcomes. These will be assessed under strict guidelines to ensure they meet the City’s objectives.

Applications should detail:

  • support for startups to launch into global markets with a focus on Asia
  • a core theme and focus industries (if relevant) for the space
  • measurable community benefits in line with the rental subsidy requested
  • the average rental subsidy to be provided to startups
  • details of proposed programming and activities that build connection, community, partnerships, skills, knowledge and capability within a start-up ecosystem
  • activation of the event space and engagement and contribution to the local startup community
  • sustainability focused practices such as waste, water and energy use
  • a commitment to social inclusion practices, including policy or programing, and measurable indicators.

Applicants can review the expressions of interest document and attachments and apply through the City’s online grants management system SmartyGrants. The EOI closes on 14 November 2019.