Leading co-working operator Generator today announced that listed city-centre property specialists, Precinct Properties, have acquired the remaining 50 per cent of its shares in Generator, making Precinct the sole owner of the company.
The sale will see Ryan Wilson exit the business he founded in 2011 in great shape, making up 60 per cent market share of total co-working space in Auckland city following after a period of rapid growth in 2017-18, which saw the business expand its operation by over 400 per cent.
Now with Generator’s footprint covering 12,600 sqm of space, Wilson feels that the time is right for new leadership and a fresh perspective to take the business forward.
“The Precinct acquisition is exciting news for the business as it means that Generator moves into a new era, able to expand into new cities and new services, with the backing of one of New Zealand’s largest listed property companies,” says Wilson.
“Precinct bought a 50 per cent ownership in May 2017, demonstrating the impact co-working has had on the real estate industry and, more specifically, highlighting the value that Generator’s unique offering and culture could bring to Precinct’s property portfolio,” he says.
Precinct’s CEO, Scott Pritchard, says the strategic acquisition is a fantastic opportunity for the company to expand further into the fast-growing flexible space market. “Generator allows us to provide flexible office space and meeting and events solutions to a broad range of New Zealand businesses, while maintaining our reputation for providing high-end, world class city-centre office spaces.”
Wilson says that running Generator has been an incredible journey, from opening the doors in 2011 with 32 members, to today’s community of over 1,200 members across its five Auckland CBD locations.
The global financial crisis in 2007-8 was the inflection point for the co-working movement to move from the periphery to establishing itself as a mainstream alternative to the traditional commercial leasing model. This was underpinned by increasing demand for flexible and collective workplaces and the convergence of technological, social, and economic forces.
“We established Generator in a refurbished heritage building in Britomart in 2010 and at that time there were only 426 registered co-working spaces in the world1. None of them had the combination of service, tailored workspaces, hospitality and events that have been the hallmark of Generator’s success.
“For me the proof of that success has been the number of members and businesses who are still part of Generator today. Of the first ten businesses that signed up in 2010, six of them are still members today,” says Wilson.
Now Generator is home to rapidly growing Kiwi businesses as well as the likes of global super-brands such as Facebook, Salesforce, Spark and Getty Images.
“I’m proud to leave Generator in great heart and recognise that the time is right time to step aside and entrust the business to someone with a fresh vision and different perspective,” concludes Wilson.