The basic facts are pretty straightforward: Xero has signed a 12-year lease for offices in the Mansons development on the corner of St Georges Bay and Garfield Roads in the Auckland suburb of Parnell. The building will be about 66 percent larger than Xero’s current premises. It’ll span two floors and nearly 6,000 square metres in total. The two floors will be connected by a light-filled internal atrium and staircase to create connectivity and promote movement around the office, much like Xero’s new Wellington headquarters that officially opened earlier this year. The building will have a five-star Green Star rating – meaning it will use the latest tech available to ensure it has as little an environmental impact as possible.
But there’s a whole lot more to it than just that.
Xero New Zealand country manager Craig Hudson says that the new Auckland office will show that, although Xero is a global company, it remains committed to the country where it all began. “The new space is going to be world-leading to drive innovation,” he says. “We need to keep driving innovation for New Zealand small businesses. While 80 percent of our revenue is now outside New Zealand, we are a New Zealand born company through and through and are proud to have the lion’s share of our product, operational, customer and financial teams here, serving more than one million small businesses globally.”
Xero’s new Wellington HQ.
Hudson says Xero currently employs more than 360 staff in Auckland, most of whom work out of the Textile Centre in Parnell. He says the new office will have capacity to accommodate more than 600 staff – which means Xero may shift some staff to Auckland and/or possibly hire more staff.
The latter would not be surprising. According to a recent NZIER report on Xero’s economic contribution to New Zealand, Xero creates jobs 15 times faster than the rest of the economy, at an average of 39.7 percent per year since 2013.
“Xero employs more than 1,000 people in New Zealand, and as our growth continues over the next decade, NZIER analysis projects we are forecast to create 570 jobs that otherwise would not have existed,” says Hudson. “So we really are preparing for growth with this new office and the recent opening of our new Wellington headquarters and regional office in Hawke’s Bay.”
Xero’s Craig Hudson.
Xero chief partner officer Anna Curzon says Parnell has been Xero’s Auckland home for six years. She says she, too, is excited about the move – and also about the co-working space Xero will host at the new office.
That’s right – a co-working space at Xero.
“Our coworking space, ReWire, will focus on cloud-based business platform innovation by connecting banks, government, accountants, large enterprises, app partners and small business all with the purpose of collaborating to rewire the small business economy,” explains Curzon. “One of the benefits of being based in Auckland is that we get access to world-class talent where employees can enjoy living in a vibrant city and at the same time work for one of the most innovative cloud-based businesses in the world.
“We have over 100 developers in Auckland and we’re looking to grow, so this new office is another drawcard for attracting talent.”
Check out this podcast with Xero’s Anna Curzon:
Hudson says the plan is to move into the new offices in November. The building Xero’s offices – including ReWire – will be in is being built by Manson TCLM, who happen to be one of Aotearoa’s largest property developers.
Manson director Culum Manson says his company’s long track record of big projects and innovation helps when building something an organisation like Xero will move into. He says that the idea of the building’s exterior was to offer a modern take on the older, industrial “character” buildings in the neighbourhood, and is especially proud of how the corner entrance will lead visitors directly to the atrium. “With an atrium, you’re taking dead space and turning it into a productive area,” he says. “It really transforms the culture.”
Featuring top seismic ratings and built to last more than 100 years, having a beautiful, efficient office is important for a company like Xero in an economy where work-life balance is more important than ever before, says Manson. “We don’t like to think about it, but we spend much of our lives in offices,” he says. “Companies want to look after their people. You need to look after your people to attract and retain talent.”
At four levels in total, Manson says the building’s basement will boast about 150 spaces for bikes to be parked, a feature not unlike many offices in the Netherlands or “park and ride” transit stations like the Sunset Transit Center just west of downtown Portland, Oregon. Aside from Xero, Manson says other tenants in the building will include engineering and design consultancy Harrison Grierson and beverage company Asahi.
Sunset Transit Center near Portland, Oregon
Nick Hill, chief executive of Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED) – Auckland’s economic growth agency – says Xero’s increased presence in Auckland is good news for the city, too. “Xero is a New Zealand technology success story which is succeeding on the world stage, and we’re thrilled that they have committed to growing here,” he says. “The tech sector is a key driver of long-term economic growth. It’s estimated that for every job created in the tech sector, an additional five jobs are created across other sectors.
“Xero’s expansion is a great endorsement for Auckland’s standing as a place to do business.”
So that’s that. But yes – a lot of you are probably asking “how do I get into that co-working space you mentioned?” Never fear: expressions of interest for ReWire can be sent to [email protected].