5-star hybrid workspaces, combined with the City Rail Link, are creating a revitalised inner-city zone designed to motivate workers back to the office.

There’s a whole new part of Auckland city taking shape – some call it Midtown – a precinct set to become the most desirable part of the CBD. At its centre will be a set of three inter-connected buildings designed to showcase a new standard of hybrid workspaces. 

The buildings are the sophisticated Formery development upcycled into two linked premium sustainable work premises – Formery West (16 Kingston Street and 60 Federal Street), and Formery East (87 Albert Street). They are destined to evolve into a unique community, featuring a business club for successful small and medium size enterprises. 

Midtown is where they sit and Mark Gedye, Alberts’ vice-president of Real Estate, says the development will not only underpin an area of the city rapidly becoming a compelling business hub,  but will also beat the trend of working from home by creating a workplace culture that people don’t want to miss.

Gedye says the City Rail Link has created a “great, big canvas” and it’s now up to developers and community groups to shape Midtown’s future: “Midtown will become a magnet for businesses which realise, through developing transport options, they can get a CBD address at competitive rates,” he says. 

The Formery has over 13,000sq m of workspace which will ultimately accommodate 55-65 business paying 20-30 per cent less on their leases than in other premium locations and with the facilities all included. Tenants have the choice of brand new, turn-key, Alberts-designed Agile and Private Suites accommodating 2-25 people, all the way through the full floor bespoke offering, which as the name suggests, is tailor-made for the tenant but delivered by Alberts via their experienced partners.   

Formery tenants already include mobile phone technology firm Oppo, Uber, L’Oreal NZ, and leadership development firm Winsborough –  forming the vibrant business community that is quintessentially Alberts, as first seen at 1 Albert Street, their flagship property. The Formery Club is a place where diverse and dynamic business leaders can relax in the lounge spaces between meetings or come together over an afternoon wine tasting, knowing that their staff are happy working in such an inspiring atmosphere.

They, and the other new tenants, will become part of a re-energised and thriving neighbourhood, Gedye says. The Formery is directly opposite the City Rail Link’s Te Waihorotiu Station (Victoria Street entrance), which will see over half of the station’s commuters entering and leaving the city centre at peak times. 

The Aotea Centre, Civic Theatre, Auckland Library, Auckland Art Gallery activities are nearby and businesses have a growing community of F&B options coming into the area including Little Culprit, Gilt Brasserie, as well as Lorne Street’s dumpling and bubble tea houses. On the other side of Queen Street are SkyCity staples such as such as Depot, Federal Deli and MASU. 

With the completion of the CRL streetscape works, the Formery and the growing community of defining Midtown landmarks are changing what Midtown means as a business location, says Gedye. Those landmarks include SkyCity and the New Zealand International Convention Centre, the new Spark headquarters and the Symphony Centre on which construction starts shortly.  

The Formery has another purpose – beating what Gedye calls the “working from home malaise”.  

“Part of what Alberts does through its extensive tenant amenity is address the working from home malaise by making workplaces too good to stay away from. Too many business leaders have to over-incentivise their staff just to come in and the cost of communal creativity is too great. We are looking at businesses who value true collaboration and want a premium location to attract and retain the best talent.”  

Within the Alberts Workplace model, Formery has been developed to integrate lifestyle with the work day. The key to this is the creation of a productive workplace through a combination of collaborative and focused workspaces, aspirational design, culture and community. "Teams will enjoy being in the office as an attractive and compelling alternative to working from home, supporting the development of positive corporate culture” says Gedye.   

There is also a delicatessen opening on the ground floor in July, catering for sit-down lunches and takeaway meals. The Formery’s wellness centre (also to be completed in July) will deliver red light saunas, hot-then-cold therapies, exercise suite and quiet space for parents; The Formery’s events and networking spaces located next to the club will accommodate up to 150 sit-down diners.  

This all combines to create a stunning environment for businesses to base themselves and where staff will thrive. Formery is a place where high-performing teams will want to be, rather than expected to be. 

The pandemic limited workers to Teams meetings at home: “There was a lack of interaction and those water cooler moments were missing when an impromptu conversation can lead to a creative solution.” 

“Research has shown that 70 per cent of global corporates have adopted hybrid work practices to get staff back into the office after reporting a loss of culture and productivity. So many businesses work in isolation. We are providing inspirational space, services and events that help wellbeing and team culture develop, taking the pressure off managers. 

Then, Gedye says, by enabling interaction and collaboration, “you build a critical mass and this becomes a productive business community”. 

The Formery tenants receive five-star treatment. The extensive club facilities enable impromptu catch-ups as well as isolated, focused work and the well-appointed meeting rooms are serviced by the Alberts concierge team with a commercial kitchen for any catering requirements.  

Alberts is completing the rebuilding of the Albert Street frontage, including new façade and statement-making entrance experiences where workers from Formery East and West will be able to access their tenancies via the club barista for their morning coffee.  

Formery West occupants and guests will then be able to a stroll through lifts of Formery West via a 4m-wide sky bridge that is also being completed in July.  

Just like a five-star hotel, the concierge in the lobby of Formery East will direct visitors, book meeting rooms, arrange couriers and dry cleaning as well as facilitate on-site IT and event management. All the meeting and event/networking spaces have the latest interactive technology. Alberts is also affiliated to the Sonato platform that provides access to 42 of the leading members clubs around the world.

The Formery is adapting the experience and learnings from Alberts’ similar development at 1 Albert St, which is 100 per cent leased and won the New Zealand Property Council Awards for best commercial property in 2023. 

Alberts also operates hybrid workplaces at 10 and 12 Viaduct Harbour Avenue and 110 Custom Street West – all designed to make staff inspired in an aspirational office environment. Auckland Real Estate, established in 2007, and its Alberts brand is changing the way people think about commercial office space. The specially-designed workplaces enhance efficiency, productivity and working culture. 

For more information: formery.alberts.nz