Hastings' first large-scale co-working space is expected to attract a new wave of start-up and fast growing businesses to the city.
Rob and Jenny Gill bought the former Hastings Farmers store on the corner of Queen Street and Market Street in 2018. Its anchor tenant Kiwibank uses two-thirds of the renovated and strengthened building as its national operations centre.
The new business branded an i-space occupies the remaining 1138m 2 and has the potential to support more than 50 businesses and over 150 people.
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Rob Gill said they identified an opportunity in Hastings for high quality, co-working spaces.
The complex called Hastings Hive, is based on the shared work place concept pioneered in international trading centres like London, New York and Toronto.
"We wanted to offer a new-age approach to renting office space that provides corporate level facilities for small companies.
"Small businesses can now enjoy the trappings of a swish corporate office such as high end offices, super-fast internet connectivity, hi-tech meeting and board rooms, a relaxed lounge area and cafe," he said.
Rob says the shared working space movement has been spreading globally, fuelled by a need for adaptable workspaces and a desire for better quality, but shared resources.
"It's about modern agile work practices supported by adaptable spaces, intelligent design and the latest information technologies.
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The Gills have set up Hastings Hive to provide an alternative to the long-term commitment required under the traditional tenancy model which had a big impact on their business, a nationwide IP networking company.
"We owned an ICT business that was locked into a 10-year lease, ratcheting up 3 per cent a year, this at a time when rents around us fell by up to 30 per cent after the 2008 global financial crisis," Rob said.
Although they won't be getting tenants moving in for a few months yet they have an outlook to the future to make it a leading business facility not only for the region but for the country.
"Our plan is long-term so we want to build over the next three to four years and want to become a leading business facility and really make Hastings a national business hot spot."
The i-space offers a range of flexible workspaces to suit most uses and budgets, starting from a one person i-desk, up to larger i-offices, sized from 26 to 78m2 and suitable for six to 20 people.
Rob says i-space enjoys economies from scale and sharing and customers will save between 30 and 40 per cent in total occupancy costs, compared with leasing offices. That is a significant business saving on top of having no fixed term lease, bank guarantee or personal guarantee normally required by landlords.
Interior designer Amy Henderson said the fit-out which she created alongside Hawke's Bay architects Fat Parrot is "truly next level". The design brief was to create a sophisticated workplace as fundamentally, people work better when they love where they work.
The Gills say they are looking forward to seeing start-up businesses grow and become potentially world leaders from Hastings.