Creative hubs

Creative hubs

Shared spaces the new work option

Working in a shared, collaborative space is becoming increasingly popular with people seeking flexible working arrangements. The City has been across the trend since 2012 when we launched our Creative Spaces program to provide affordable space for Sydney's artists and creative workers.

In just 5 years, the concept has really taken off in Australia, which now has the highest growth of co-working spaces per capita of any country.

Co-working is most popular among entrepreneurs, start-ups, small business owners and freelancers who need flexible short or long-term work space offering the added bonus of continuous networking with like-minded peers.

Australia's first shared workspaces such as Sydney's Desk X, opened around 2009. According to research, their number soared a whopping 555% in the 2 years ending September 2012 and by early 2013 there were 62 co-working and collaborative workspaces nationwide.

Since then more co-working spaces have opened, but rarely enough to keep up with spiralling demand. Many are now at capacity and are operating wait lists only.

Some leading Australian corporate players are now allowing their employees to work from collaborative work environments. Telstra, Optus, News Corp and PwC among others, have already invested in major sponsorships of these spaces.

And in late May developer Lend Lease will open The Porter – a 700 square metre ground floor space in O'Connell Street in the city. It will be the first shared workspace for upmarket corporate tenants, rather than individuals and micro-businesses. 

City Business logo

We are a recognised leader in promoting co-working in the Sydney area. Through our various creative spaces programs we help artists and creative industry workers access an affordable workspace in suitable City-owned buildings.  

Hub Sydney, an innovative international co-working community with 35 chapters worldwide, which opened on level 2 of 101-111 William Street, is this month celebrating its first birthday. 

"Hub simply creates spaces where people can meet and William Street is the ideal location," Hub's community catalyst, Seth Lawrence says.

"It’s central, in an up-and coming area of entrepreneurship and creativity. In fact, we have been so successful since we started here last year that we are expanding our operation to level 1, which opened this week," he says.

We’re excited to have another co-working space join the stable at 66 Oxford Street – EngineRoom, a company with a specific focus on people working in hardware, electronics and prototyping makers. 

Places to inspire, create and delight

A number of spaces that are owned by the City in the local area are perfect for artists and others working in the creative industries.

Putting these buildings to use, we offer a number of programs that help people and organisations find an affordable studio or workspace.

The programs we have available suit different needs. Aside from programs for affordable work space such as Oxford Street Creative Spaces and the William Street Creative Hub (currently full), we provide short-term retail and creative space tenancy opportunities which, at a reduced rate, provide spaces within City owned properties that may suddenly and temporarily become available.

We were also the first organisation in NSW to license Creative Spaces, a free directory that connects those looking for affordable studios, galleries, exhibition and other creative spaces with leasing managers running these types of properties.

Design duo Romance Was Born in their studio.

Cultural quarters

To ensure the much loved and renowned strip continues to thrive, we have been offering a range of office and retail spaces on Oxford Street to creative individuals and businesses.

We invited artists and organisations to submit an expression of interest to occupy underutilised properties and were overwhelmed with the response. There are now 18 office and retail spaces and the transformation has been swift. Designers, architects, contemporary performers, animators, online video producers, architects, artists, their staff and customers are breathing new life into the precinct.

We’re also working to foster a creative community in our William Street properties. The area is already home to a range of emerging and established creative tenants, including renowned fashion label Romance Was Born and global co-working organisation Hub Sydney, as well as the City’s first Creative Live Work Space program for artists. 

Creative Spaces

Creative Spaces is a free website that matches property owners with creatives looking for a space.

The site helps artists and creative enterprises find a suitable venue or studio to develop, exhibit or perform their work and provides a platform for agents and owners to advertise their properties and find tenants.

On the site you will find artist and photography studios, gallery and exhibition spaces, co-working areas and hot desks, rehearsal and performance rooms, pop-up shops, rooftops, cinemas, theatres and other non-traditional properties.

You can also list your unused properties on the site.

It’s free to join and you can search by area, or type of space and read all about how creative spaces around the local area have been used by others.

Visit Creative Spaces

Skater on an indoor half pipe in a Oxford Street affordable space.
Oxford Street short term creative tenant, Maaike.

Short term creative tenancies

Offering vacant properties to creative enterprises not only breathes new life into empty spaces, it also helps to address the challenges of finding affordable, inner-city spaces for cultural workers.

Following a call-out to anyone with a unique, innovative idea, we selected 25 projects to be placed on a short term retail and creative space register so that when an appropriate space became available, the projects could be called on to make use of the property from 1 to 12 months.

Brand X has come on board to help us find new and creative businesses to continue to fill empty City-owned spaces and provide affordable options for creatives.

People working in cultural spheres are invited to submit ideas for projects for consideration, with successful applicants being matched to properties by Brand X. The offered space could be anywhere in our area, in any type of building, and generally with only a few weeks’ notice given.

Visit Brand X to submit an idea and for more information.

Last updated: Monday, 3 November 2014