Space matchmaking service for start-ups takes off
Renew Adelaide delivered $3.90 in local benefits to business for every dollar spent last year while breathing new life into vacant buildings. Is Renew Adelaide a good model for other cities to follow?
Property Council’s Future Directions committee in Adelaide thinks so.
in 2012, Renew Adelaide
is a not-for-profit with funding from the Adelaide City Council and Renewal SA
that supports local ventures with flexible rent-free tenancies within the
model, which has also been embraced by other cities including Newcastle,
Townsville and Geelong, operates two databases: one of available spaces with
willing landlords; the other of start-up businesses looking for space.
“Renew Adelaide acts as a ‘matchmaker’ to
ensure the perfect fit between a tenant and landlord,” says Tim Halliday, project
and development manager with Trice and member of the Property Council’s Future
The Renew Adelaide team makes the initial
introductions, helps with lease agreements – usually a rolling 30-day licence –
and offers support during fitout phase and once the business is operational,
“The numbers speak for themselves. Last
financial year, 53 small businesses got a foot in the door through Renew
Adelaide, and more than 2,200 sqm of vacant space was activated.”
Analysis from Deloitte has found the $1,868,000
in net benefits delivered over the last financial year translates into a 3.9:1
cost-benefit ratio – up from 2.4:1 just a four years earlier.
The growth trajectory confirms the model’s
success, says Callan Cox, managing director of construction company Mykra Pty
model is reframing Adelaide’s cultural identity. It supports urban renewal and
activation of vacant tenancies, attracts local creatives and cultivates
entrepreneurism,” Cox explains.
provides opportunities to people who might not otherwise test their business
idea commercially, as the 30-day rolling license model is a less daunting
commitment for the tenant and gives the landlord flexibility.”
have found that working with Renew Adelaide can increase foot traffic, Cox
some cases, building are no longer looked upon as vacant – or even derelict –
spaces, which can uplift the entire building. Landlords are increasingly able
to translate Renew Adelaide tenants into commercial leases over time.”
the Future Directions committee applauds Renew Adelaide’s efforts, it also
acknowledges that may businesses fail to thrive, despite the helping hand.
have seen some tenancies return to their empty state. The spaces that tenants
are typically moving into are handed over as ‘cold-shells’ and this can create difficulties
for both parties as landlords try and maintain the standard of their building
design and fitout, while tenants try to minimise their capital investment,”
there has been remarkable improvement in conversion rates over time as Renew
Adelaide has learnt from its success and failures, Halliday says, pointing to
Renew Adelaide: A growing success story
While Renew Adelaide encourages utilisation
of empty space, does it in turn just create other empty spaces?
“The ‘what if’ question certainly orbits
the Renew Adelaide model, as it does with all taxpayer funded models. Is this
the highest and best use of the space and our taxpayer money? The evidence
points to a great economic return. Our streets are more vibrant. And we are
encouraging landlords and start-ups to work together towards mutual success and
fantastic cultural outcomes,” Cox adds.
“Given the outcomes demonstrated by Renew
Adelaide, we expect this model to be taken up in new precincts and other markets
as other cities look to take advantage of this growing success story.”