Smales Farm announced plans yesterday to develop 160,000m² of office space & hospitality zones at its Takapuna property over the next 20 years. The Smale family-owned business expects investment in future development to reach $1 billion as the site evolves into “a thriving & diverse urban community and home for future business”.
The vision for the property, with its landmark Vodafone building at the corner of Northcote & Taharoto Rds, is to create an innovative, sustainable & interactive precinct that fosters business & community growth. Construction will be triggered by demand.
Smales Farm director Greg Smale said: “This vision incorporates the latest global thinking around workplace & urban design and will create a world-class space that sets Smales Farm apart. The emphasis will be on the principles of walkability & placemaking – where spaces are designed to put people, not cars or buildings, first.
“The plan responds directly to some of the recommendations in Auckland’s proposed unitary plan and will be an area of high quality urban design that also allows for efficient use of business land. Flexible & affordable premium offices, green spaces & bustling hospitality zones will be brought together to see Smales Farm become a destination for working, wellbeing & community events in Auckland.”
Groundwork has started on the initial stage, a 65,000m² innovation & lifestyle precinct. Vodafone’s recently announced plans to revamp its existing building to create a workplace of the future – a fully enabled smart building for its entire Auckland-based team – will form part of this precinct, which will be complemented by business & hospitality zones.
The Business Hive
A new 11,000m² office space – the Business Hive, or B:HIVE – will sit at the heart of the precinct, offering premium, flexible & affordable workspaces to businesses of all sizes. It will have 5 floors & capacity to house up to 1000 people.
“We believe the B:HIVE will be the most innovative & future-focused building in New Zealand and a game-changer in terms of the facilities & flexible working options it offers businesses. It will bring together a community of smart businesses under one roof and at one geographical location, creating an eco-system that fosters innovation & growth.
“Designed by Australian architects BVN and local firm Jasmax Ltd, the B:HIVE will have a strong focus on wellbeing. The natural environment will be seamlessly integrated within the modern workspace, and the concept of bringing the outdoors inside has been incorporated throughout the design process – natural light will be maximised and the latest mix-mode air-conditioning will circulate fresh air throughout the building.
“Employee wellbeing has been factored into every aspect of the planning. As the nature of business and the way we work continue to change – driven by constant advances in technology – so too do the requirements for a work environment. Flexibility, collaboration, vibrancy & lifestyle are now the key considerations and the B:HIVE delivers on all of these.”
Mr Smale said this “people-first” thinking would be further complemented by the wider precinct development, which will feature open green spaces for outdoor recreational activities intended to enhance community interaction.
Within the B:HIVE itself, flexible partitioning systems will mean working environments will be able to evolve with a business, bringing a new proposition to the New Zealand market.
The new hospitality area, conceptualised by Izzard Design, will feature a leafy laneway of boutique eateries & casual meeting spaces to draw business & wider community together.
This initial stage of development is expected to attract an additional 1500 people onsite and is due for completion in mid-2017.
Mr Smale said Smales Farm was working closely with Ateed (Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development), Massey University & Auckland Council to ensure its long-term plan supports Auckland’s wider economic development strategy & the Grow North initiative.
“These plans recognise the need for Auckland to find new ways of working outside the city centre to deliver enhanced benefits for employees and ease congestion issues, and directly responds to a number of the recommendations that were presented in Auckland’s unitary plan around better use of business land & need for quality urban design.”
It is currently home to 25 businesses, including community services such as an A&E Centre, pharmacy & banking facilities. 2500 people work at the property.
Link: Website & B-Hive video
15 January 2016: $200 million spend to make a Vodafone-branded innovation precinct at Smales Farm
Attribution: Company release.