Lot Fourteen is helping cutting edge startups, advanced research and global corporates collaborate on solutions to our most challenging problems.

Artist impression of space centre

Four years ago, Adelaide's hottest hi-tech hub Lot Fourteen was still a working hospital.

Today, it's an innovation precinct where more than 1000 people work and study. It's home to dozens of startups as well as heavy hitters like the Australian Space Agency and has just welcomed Amazon and Google as new tenants.

This is a cracking pace that State project lead Di Dixon says is unparalleled among innovation-focused precincts in Australia.

"Having been involved with other precincts interstate I know it usually just doesn't happen at such an accelerated pace," she says.

"It's moving so quickly because there was a very strong vision set early for the precinct, coming directly from the Premier. It's got strong leadership at the highest political level, and the objectives are in line with key priorities like job creation and economic diversity."

Since 2018 when work began on the precinct, Lot Fourteen has rapidly established and grown an associated high tech ecosystem, built out physical infrastructure, and curated a core set of tenants that fit a strong and specific strategic tenancy criteria.

Lot Fourteen is now moving into a growth phase, with an eye on attracting a rising number of committed international tenants which can trumpet the benefits of working there both at home and abroad.

The biggest global name to be located at Lot Fourteen to date is Amazon Web Services (AWS). Its head of Western and South Australia, Sarah Bassett, says they were attracted by Lot Fourteen's rich community of entrepreneurship and innovation.

"One core focus for AWS at Lot Fourteen is to deepen our engagement with local startups to help them grow their businesses, and help them showcase their innovation to the world," she says.

"By establishing our local presence at Lot Fourteen, we are in great company alongside the Australian Institute of Machine Learning, the Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre, and the Australian Space Agency to name a few. Lot Fourteen’s spirit of innovation and collaboration will help Amazon expand our impact and create more highly skilled jobs in Adelaide."

Other major strategic partners that already call Lot Fourteen home include the SmartSat Co-operative Research Centre, the MIT big data Living Lab, and the Australian Space Discovery Centre and Mission Control Centre.

Some $722m of funding from three tiers of government, as part of the City of Adelaide Deal signed in 2019, has been critical to accelerating development.

Construction and the refurbishment of heritage hospital buildings continued during COVID-19 last year, which sets Lot Fourteen up for the next wave of growth that includes The Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre, and the International Centre for Food Hospitality and Tourism Studies.

In March, the development partner was announced for the flagship Entrepreneur and Innovation Centre, a 16-floor, $400m state-of-the-art building designed specifically to cater to the requirements of businesses in the defence, space, hi-tech and cybersecurity sectors, as well as research organisations. The building is on track to be finished in 2023.

The precinct is not Adelaide's only innovation hub, but its success comes from focusing on the niche sectors of defence, space, and hi-tech; or "future proof" industries.

"The precinct’s physical Infrastructure will take 10 years to be fully developed. By 2028 we're anticipating over 6000 people will be working there and it will have generated $3.5 billion in economic activity for the state," Dixon says.

However, that's not taking into account technologies as-yet undiscovered and the maturation of startups already working in the precinct.

"The value of that colocation is already evident. Stone & Chalk already has 54 startups located within it. A significant number of companies have already grown, scaled up and transitioned to their own tenancy," she says.

"It's going to be a really special place because it's already generating opportunities, business growth, and prospects for future generations. Because of its location it's going to have an impact on the hospitality and services industries, and will create indirect jobs that are really valuable to the state."

Momentum is growing and as of this year, demand is outweighing current supply with Dixon saying they're addressing this through interim solutions to assist companies establish themselves in the state while new infrastructure is built. Lot Fourteen is clearly an attractive site for organisations but key to future success will be community and broader global engagement.

"We don't talk enough about the community focus on the precinct. We're returning 50 per cent of the area back to open space and working with the Adelaide Botanic Garden to create an integrated new central park area," Dixon says.

"It's critical Lot Fourteen becomes part of the broader university, cultural, parklands and CBD environment.”

Future plans are to work with neighbouring cultural institutions in the CBD as well as link with major festivals like Illuminate Adelaide to ensure the precinct is tied to, and therefore part of, the local community.

Sourced from The Australian: Adelaide's innovation agenda