Waikato Innovation Park, owned by a private investor, gave its 58 tenant companies big rent cuts during levels 4 and 3 of the response to Covid-19.
Chief executive Stuart Gordon said tenants got 50 per cent rent rebate during level 4 lockdown and a 40 per cent cut in level 3. They were also given a 23 per cent discount on outgoings for services like power, he said.
The Hamilton park's buildings, which host more than 600 fulltime staff, and the lease on the site's 17ha, which is owned by Waikato-Tainui, is owned by Rotorua businessman Neil Foster. He prefers to keep a low profile and declined to comment.
Existing rents at the park are $270-$280 per sqm plus outgoings.
Gordon said the rent relief wasn't "charity".
"This is about a long-term community. We are on a long journey together creating a community. Some 32 per cent of our tenants have projects ongoing with another tenant."
Only one tenant - an events company - had been a casualty of the pandemic response, he said.
Major tenant Tetra Pak, a global food processing and packaging solutions company, which occupies a separate new building on the site but is subject to a different lease arrangement to the main innovation park building, was given a 25 per cent rent rebate, said Gordon.
The issue of commercial rent relief and many landlords refusal to give it to tenants has caused bitter debate during Covid-19 response and recovery. After months of internal argument, a new Government deal was announced last week.
Justice Minister Andrew Little announced the Government was providing $40 million towards arbitration costs between "businesses and landlords to resolve issues about adjusting rent as they face the economic impacts of Covid-19".
Meanwhile, a new $14 million building at the park is rising fast after a two month construction delay caused by the Covid response. It is due to open in April next year.
The building is part of the park's master plan and aims to draw Auckland companies to the region's fast-growing technology centre.
The 2900sq m building will extend the business park's size by more than a third.
The master development plan for the park, which opened in 2004, cites potential for it to grow to be worth $180m within 20 years.
The park, near Waikato University, was owned by the Hamilton City Council until 2017. It was put on the market when the council decided it wasn't the right backer to achieve the master development plan.
The park's property assets, which included shares in the park company which holds the Tainui lease and the leases to tenants, and three buildings, were marketed for $25m in a sale process that took a year.
The latest survey of tenants in the park showed they had gross annual turnover of $731m - up 30 per cent on 2018. The majority of companies employ fewer than 50 staff and 57 per cent of all tenants reported growth in 2018-2019.
The survey showed 52 per cent of companies were involved in R&D.
The park is home to a variety of technology developers including in the biotech, agritech, food production and information and communications sectors.
Chief executive Gordon is also CEO of Food Waikato, which operates two milk powder dryers on the site.
The first dryer operation helped infant formula exporter Dairy Goat Cooperative build its business until it could fund its own processing operation.
The second, a $50m spray dryer completed this year, is helping launch New Zealand's new sheep milk export industry.