Vodafone announced yesterday that it will invest $50 million in a new South Island headquarters in the heart of Christchurch’s new Innovation Precinct.
The building will not only house 350 Vodafone staff, with plenty of room for growth, but will also provide facilities for between 10 to 20 start-ups as part of a “Xone” incubation hub which is being developed in partnership with Callaghan Innovation.
Although the details are yet to be confirmed, the resource consent application indicates that the outside of the four-story building will sport a giant 64sqm television-style billboard which would be screening live and recorded videos.
The building will join 5 other Vodafone buildings like it worldwide, the others in Silicon Valley, Milan, London, Cairo and Dusseldorf, helping put New Zealand on an international playing field for tech innovation.
The Innovation Precinct is a new initiative designed to promote growth in the region. It will cover 3.6ha in the southeast corner of the Urban Frame and will be a place for business and employment in the technology sector. The Government has announced it will be investing significant funds in a new ICT graduate school in the precinct and will be supporting the development of another innovation hub with low-rental prices to accommodate more start-up businesses.
Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee have expressed their delight at Vodafone’s endorsement of the project and the benefits it will bring to the city. The building will be developed by Calder Stewart. Construction will start in four to eight weeks and is expected to be finished in early 2016.