New $14 million co-working space set to open in Melbourne

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A new socially conscious 7000m2 co-working space spanning four levels is set to bring 550 jobs to Melbourne’s west.

Run by the Impact Investment Group (IIG), the Dream Factory will take over the former global head office of Lonely Planet Publications on the Maribyrnong River in Footscray.

The space, which IIG bought for $13.5 million last year, will provide a “workplace for individuals and businesses focused on design, technology and social change”.

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IIG CEO Chris Lock says the new space is representative of the fund’s social focus.

“We feel it’s a bold representation of our investment mandate to deliver strong commercial returns with tangible social and environmental outcomes,” Lock says.

“There is no doubt that our environmental and social agenda has driven this strong tenant demand to the Dream Factory, in an otherwise weak leasing market.”

The Dream Factory’s core tenant will be fellow Melbourne co-working space Inspire9, which will expanding into 2000m2 of the space, and Engineers Without Borders Australia will also be a founding tenant.

The co-working hub will also feature Australia’s first commercial Tesla Battery System, along with 200kwh of Rooftop Solar PV panels.

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It’s the second socially aware startup initiative to be announced in Melbourne recently, with impact investor Geoff Gourley launching the One10 social enterprise accelerator and consulting agency late last year.

Victorian minister for small business, innovation and trade Philip Dalidakis says the Dream Factory is another sign that the state is leading the way on innovation.

“It’s great to see Victoria’s value for co-working spaces and incubators expanding beyond Melbourne’s CBD to support startups and social businesses in the west,” Dalidakis says.

“We are Australia’s startup capital and this new investment through the Dream Factory will further strengthen Victoria’s reputation as the place to do business.”

The organisation is currently seeking expressions of interest from “values-aligned tenants” for the remaining space, which ranges from 400m2 to 2200m2.

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Denham Sadler is the editor of StartupSmart. He was previously a journalist at the publication and has worked as a freelancer for the Guardian, the Saturday Paper and the ABC. In his spare time he likes puns and jaffles.
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